The Resilience of Good

In these tough times, we see so much struggle around us. Our loved ones are struggling, our friends, our colleagues, many are struggling with what the pandemic is bringing about outside as well as within us. And we are struggling with them.

We get to hear of the shocking, the unforeseen, the unexpected, and the magnitude of the calamity reveals itself in new dimensions every day. The sheer deluge of information is often disturbing and unsettling, raising new and deeper questions as we read about happenings around us.

In this deluge we also hear of people’s response to the struggles they are facing.  So many of those responses build hope in the future of mankind, but we read about many more people who are callous, mismanaged, self-serving, or shortsighted at best, in their behavior.  It is very easy for us to lose sight of the goodness of our fellow humans in this deluge of negativity.  It doesn’t mean however, that the good isn’t there.

Good has always been less seen, less heard of, less spoken of, in the clamor for attention by the common Bad.  It has long been known, and we need to understand too, that Good loses to Bad because it isn’t loud enough, or juicy enough, or because Good doesn’t push itself ahead like Bad does.  This is the truth of this age of Kal-Yug.  It is also the reason why we need to pray for Good to emerge, for Good to be stronger, to be more prevalent, and to win over the world. 

We need to be discerning in the attention we pay, and in the winds of change we blow with every action of ours.  We have the power to cause Good, and to encourage goodness all around us.  Our power lies in our resilience, and how well we recognize, protect, and encourage Good!

May Good be with you 🙏

Beyond the SWOT – the ESHF Framework

Enjoy, Suffer, Hope, Fear (ESHF)

Human beings are peculiar phenomena.  More than ability and logic, our decisions and actions are defined by our emotions and feelings.  Dan Areily has written about how our irrationality sets us apart.  Jonathan Haidt, and other psychologists preceded Dan in researching how this leads to creativity and to our happiness.

The ESHF Framework can help us become aware of the motivation and velocity we are moving with.  Projecting into the future Horizons (near/far/distant) we can take charge of our journey towards the goals that are important for us.  We always achieve what we want!

ESHF for:  _______________________________________________

E-njoy

Horizon

S-uffer

Horizon
NO
S

A

R

NOSAR do I enjoy working towards, thinking about, helping others for>

1/2/3 NO
S

A

R

NOSAR do I suffer (tolerate) working towards, thinking about, helping others for>

1/2/3

H-ope

Need

F-ear

Need
NO
S

A

R

NOSAR do I hope to have achieved, thought through>

NO
S

A

R

NOSAR do I fear will come in my way, or bring me pain>

* N: Needs; O: Objectives; S: Specifications; A: Activities; R: Results (Requirements)

— O —

Broken Squares – The Game that Made us Whole

The game of Broken Squares amply demonstrates the value of giving.  I first played this game at a Team Training in 1997, conducted by Gagan Adlakha and Arjun Shekhar for the LSB Products team at Essex Farms.

The game goes like this…

The entire group, say 30 people, is split into teams of 5 each, and seated at their own round tables around the room.  Each team is handed five packets (one for each member) of plastic pieces cut from five squares.  When sorted out and put together correctly, they would make five squares that are identical in their dimensions.

Each member opens her/his packet and examines the pieces to see if they fit together to make a square.  The pieces have been distributed across different members so none of the packets complete a square, and people will need to exchange pieces to make their own squares.

The goal of the game:

Each team plays to complete the square with each team member in as little time as possible.  The team that completes all five squares for its team members first is the winner.

The rules of the game:

  1. No one can say anything or gesture in any way to communicate with fellow members.
  2. No one can take or pull a piece from another member, unless s/he gives it to them.
  3. You can give a piece to anyone you like.
  4. You cannot refuse any piece you are given.

The game is played with these rules once, and the timings of each team are shared with everyone.  The facilitator then debriefs the group, for them to share their experience, and what came in the way, what helped them to move faster.  Insights emerge from the teams that took less time to complete, as well as from the others.

Our team won! And as we talked about it during the debrief, it was because of a ‘breakthrough’ in thinking triggered by what one of us did.

To begin with, we were all looking at our own pieces and trying to see whether we ourselves had our perfect square or not.  Of course, none of us did.  So then we would look around our table at other people’s pieces and tried to imagine if they had complete squares (competition!).  Some of us imagined and tried to find those pieces in other people’s pieces that would complete ours.  As soon as we identified those, we would be blocked in doing anything to get those pieces by the rules of the game (Rule 2).  So while we waited for something to happen, we would also look at our pieces and imagine which of the  pieces did we NOT need, and tried to figure out who to give those to, for who they would complete their squares (charity?).  One or two giving of pieces happened where they certainly fit into the other’s jigsaw and the giver was sure they had no use for it, but in general, no one knew what to do.

Until one of us made a bold move!

Ruchika handed me a piece, which I had to take, but which I couldn’t fit into any configuration for my square.  I also observed she had actually broken her square and given a piece that actually she needed to complete her square.  I was wondering why she had given the piece to me when the rules of the game suddenly clicked, and I realized she was signaling to me to give!  I looked at the pieces I already had and gave one to another where it helped him make his square.  I also gave Ruchika’s piece back to her, and hers was as complete as it was before she handed me that piece.

The team quickly caught on to the convention.  Give, so that the other may give.  Give with the trust that if you really need something, it’ll come back to you for the other will give it to you.

As this convention crystallized and dawned on us around the table, we began to frantically give, watching more for what others needed and could benefit from, than trying to hold on to the incompleteness with our own pieces.  I suddenly realized I had four people caring for my completeness instead of just me being focused on myself alone.  In no time we had all five squares complete.

This became a turning point in the lives of many of us that day.