|Srikumar S. Rao|
|Born||April 11, 1951
Columbia Business School
Organizational Consultant & Executive Educator
|Organization||The Rao Institute|
If you embrace 'positive thinking,' you are – by definition – spurning 'negative thinking.' So it's as if you were on a teeter-totter and are trying desperately to put all your weight on one side – the 'positive thinking' side.
When you try to bring about behavioral change by an effort of will, you actually do violence to yourself, and the chances are very good that you will not succeed. This is so universally true that you can actually make money from it.
Just being aware of what you are about to do greatly diminishes the tendency to do what you don't want to. You will pull your hand back from that pizza slice, tell the waitress that you are passing on dessert, put on your gym shoes instead of going under the comforter, and take several deep breaths instead of screaming at your daughter.
It's wonderful to be grateful. To have that gratitude well out from deep within you and pour out in waves. Once you truly experience this, you will never want to give it up.
Life is a university, and you never graduate. Accept that whatever happens to you, no matter how terrible, is there to teach you. Your job is to learn and do what you have to.
I don't believe that being an inspiring leader is a goal that you can aspire to. It is a by-product.
If I can impact an executive and his or her team, I can help to change the culture of an organization.
Can you actually go through life without labeling what happens to you as good or bad? Sure you can. You have to train yourself to do this. You have been conditioned to think of things as bad or good. You can de-condition yourself. It is neither easy nor fast but it is possible.
No matter what happens to us in life, we tend to think of it as 'good' or 'bad.' And most of us tend to use the 'bad' label three to 10 times as often as the 'good' label. And when we say something is bad, the odds grow overwhelming that we will experience it as such.
The knowledge that we are responsible for living the life we have is our most powerful tool.
If you have an ongoing relationship with a person, think of everything positive about that person that you possibly can and enter your interaction from that space. Ignore all the crap that used to drive you up the wall before. You will be amazed at what a change this attitude shift brings about.
Certainly businesses the world over are facing greater competitive pressure than ever before, and this leads to executive stress which, in turn, tends to bring out authoritarian tendencies in many bosses. To balance this, we now know a lot more about how we can successfully cope with a situation that is not likely to improve in the near future.
Being obsessed by goals is bad for you. You should set goals, even ambitious goals, regularly. But focus on them only to the extent that they give you direction.
In terms of companies, they must stand for something bigger. They must be dedicated to something larger than financial results. I reject the Milton Friedman belief that a company's sole responsibility is to the shareholders.
It does not matter whether I am in Hong Kong or Sao Paolo – people always want to talk about toxic bosses and what to do about them.
My methods produce lasting behavioral change without unpleasant consequences, because the change does not come from an effort of will. It comes from examining your deep-rooted beliefs of who you are and how the world functions. As you examine these beliefs and make changes in them, you literally become a different person.
Consciously be sensitive to others, and try to elevate their level of consciousness. Don't do this by being preachy and telling them that they 'should' do this or that. Do it by raising your own level of energy and recognizing what's best in others.
Personal ambition is 'I want to be CEO.' Greater vision ambition is, 'I want to lead this company so that people want to work here.'
Executives don't burn out and leave when they feel deep satisfaction. They don't create the human detritus that disgruntled managers do.
Galileo got it wrong. The earth does not revolve around the sun. It revolves around you and has been doing so for decades. At least, this is the model you are using.
Most of us function under the model we have to get something in order to do something, in order to be something. If this happens, then I will be happy. And I'm suggesting to you that we live our entire lives based on that model, and that model is fundamentally flawed.
Stress is the demon in our society, stalking the cities and the countryside, striking down young and old and growing in strength daily.
You have tremendous flexibility in defining both the greater good and the greater community. If you don't succeed in this, then you will continue to pull that heavy wagon up the mountain, and despite the fact that you are pulling it, it will somehow run over your own foot.
If something comes that it is so extreme that you have difficulty thinking of it as a good thing, don't think of it as a good thing and kid yourself. To the extent that you can, don't label it a bad thing. Refusing to label something a bad thing opens you up to possibilities you would not have even considered otherwise.
Observe yourself as you go through a typical day. Stuff happens to you. As it does, you immediately judge it and label it. Dozens of times. Hundreds of times. So often that you no longer recognize that you're doing it. It is a deep-seated habit.
There's no destination. The journey is all that there is, and it can be very, very joyful.
When something happens to you, suffering doesn't begin. Suffering begins at the instant you label a bad thing – as something that is wrong.
I'm challenging the assumption that you need to be a dog-eat-dog person to survive in a corporate environment.
I had a difficult time getting my arms around Einstein's work, even when I was a physics major at one of the top universities in India.
Unending joy is actually closer to us than our own skin, and there is nothing we have to do or get or be to experience it. All we have to do is stop driving it away.
It is indeed possible to change your view of the universe from indifferent to friendly. I have helped thousands of persons make this transition in my workshops.
I am not a big fan of positive thinking. The term suggests that there is something negative that you have to counteract by being positive. That is an artificial duality.
When you label so much of what happens to you as 'bad,' it reinforces the feeling that you are a powerless pawn at the mercy of outside forces over which you have no control. And – this is key – labeling something a bad thing almost guarantees that you'll experience it as such.
We, as individuals, must be responsible for our careers with the goal of reaching our highest potential. The job of a manager is to tap into that energy that's already there.
If the universe is friendly, then it is indeed aware of us and works to help us. So there are no 'unfortunate accidents,' and everything that happens is orchestrated in an elaborate and complicated manner to be of benefit to us.
Stress appears in your life because you have a rigid view of 'This is the way the world should be,' and the Universe pays scant regard to your desires. And you refuse to accept this.
Once you accept, truly accept, that stuff will happen to you and there is nothing you can do about it, stress miraculously leaves your life.
Business schools need to address students on a human being level, not as cogs in the machine to supply fresh talent to big companies.
When you say 'I want to be an inspiring leader,' the operative phrase is 'I want.' This is inherently me-centered and self serving whether or not you recognise it. What you are really saying is 'I want to get people to do what I would like them to.' Perhaps they don't want to do that. So you have to somehow get them there.
There are terrible jerks, and there are an unusually large concentration of them in the workplace. And that means that you do have to make some changes in your behavior, but there is absolutely no need for you to give them power over your happiness.
We have the ability to craft a life where we are completely fulfilled. We think it is dependent on outsiders, and to some extent it is, but it is much more dependent on the attitude we bring to life.
Think of the universe as a benevolent parent. A child may want a tub of ice-cream and marshmallows, but a wise parent will give it fruits and vegetables instead. That is not what the child wants, but it is what the child needs.
When you look on the bright side, you're acknowledging that there is a dark side at which you are choosing not to gaze. If you think that the darkest hour is before the dawn, you accept that you are moving from darkness to light.
I wouldn't change my life for anything. I am exactly where I want to be and have no plans to ever retire.
Positive thinking is so firmly enshrined in our culture that knocking it is a little like attacking motherhood or apple pie.
I don't believe that you have a work life and a home life. I believe that you have one life, and either it's working or it isn't working.
Acceptance does not mean that you placidly acquiesce to the myriad injustices that are all around you. In fact, that you are incensed about these injustices is the very reason you need to try your level best to 'right' these 'wrongs.'
Many persons swear by positive thinking, and quite a few have been helped by it. Nevertheless, it is not a very effective tool and can be downright harmful in some cases.
Do you feel bored and stuck in a rut? Is work drudgery? If so, you are spending far too much time bemoaning your fate and how the universe is not cooperating with your desires. Be present with and in your current situation.
If you want to experience joy in your life, you have to be able to step outside yourself and become part of a cause that is much larger than you; one that brings a greater good to a greater community.
I have exercises that lead participants to discover for themselves that their deepest fulfillment comes when what they're doing is of benefit to larger society in some way. This really knocks some for a loop – especially those schooled in the 'take no prisoners' approach.
I believe that if you don't derive a deep sense of purpose from what you do, if you don't come radiantly alive several times a day, if you don't feel deeply grateful at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you, then you are wasting your life. And life is too short to waste.
Whenever you're feeling grateful, you are not feeling frustrated and angry and all those negative states that we go into. And that's a big benefit in and of itself.