Vedantic Wednesday: Discipline and Growth

What strikes you when you look at most business owners / entrepreneurs – especially the aspiring ones, the first gen and the youth? The first thing that would strike you is the immense impatience to grow. The energy and zest is almost infectious. On a closer look you may find similarities between them and a person trying to Sprint in a Marathon!

In most organizations – words like delivery, speed, productivity, turn-around, more orders, more work and more… all seem to refer to various aspects and attributes of growth. However on the contrary – process, routine, checklists, tollgates, SOPs are all seen as deterrents to speed – and hence anti-growth.  In the rush to grow – the ingredients required to sustain that growth is often forgotten.

This is what came to my mind as I was reading through some reference on Upanishads. It is said that once a group of six boys in their eagerness to realize the supreme knowledge  – went to a venerable sage asking him to initiate them into the higher echelons of truth, knowledge and realization. The wise sage smiled and told them, to first discipline themselves with simple acts and to demonstrate sustenance in the practice of that discipline. After many years of having mastered the discipline of living the life of an ascetic, was when the six boys were allowed to raise questions on various topics. The sage then patiently answered them and these answers are what is presented in the Prasna Upanishad. It was the rigor of the discipline that prepared the boys to scale their understanding thereby grow manifold in knowledge.

Unfortunately in many instance of entrepreneurial journey, any form of disciplining process is considered to slow down the progress. This is also not the place where most attention of senior leadership is directed. The attention is more on the outcome and not on the sustainability or consistency. The thrust is on one-time results, while expectations are always on repeat performance.

This leads to dilution in effort of arriving at any framework that can assure performance and consistency.  This is because while progress is viewed as interesting – preparing for progress is not.

Organizations who opt for such shortsightedness, resemble a group of actors – who are keen on acting but forget to prepare the stage!!

It is important for organizations to first discipline themselves especially during periods of growth. Sacrificing discipline at the altar of progress is not only short-lived but often detrimental. It is only through practice of discipline that the organization can actually be ready to sustain and hasten their progress. It is only through conscious organizational disciplining that one prepares for the next leap.

Look at it! Even learned ones when they want to go further into the higher levels of learning and realization have to exhibit high levels of discipline at their current stage. This discipline of mind and body is both a test and a necessity for taking on the next step in the path of self-realization. It is also then important to know acts that need to be disciplined are different at different stages.

It is very important for entrepreneurs to think and know that without preparation, progress is not possible! Yes, there may be exceptions, but they may also not last long. Because, there are some laws of nature that cannot be won against!

Happy Thinking!

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