100 Things to Change – #2

In the pursuit of success, there are no shortcuts. If we claim there are, we are only fooling our own selves. Time has proved this. And if there are those rare men who have attained great success aided by shortcuts and unethical practices, time will definitely catch up with them. In this edition of ‘100 Things to Change’, I make a wish that this attitude of taking shortcuts shall change in the days to come.

Times have much changed now. Earlier, the laws never permitted easy entry for foreign entities into India. Now, there are a lot of them already here. When they entered India at first, they realised how corrupt the Indian government officials are. This comes up wherever one would go across the nation. There is no part of India, which is exempted from this ritual. Our guests coming from different parts of the world had their own code of conduct though. They knew no way of bending their rules and so they waited. Some of them even waited for eight years or ten years. But they did not change one aspect of their business: no shortcuts, nothing at the price of their integrity. Eventually, they won. There was always some window open for the one ready to wait. Perseverance always gets rewarded. Shortcuts are for the short term. Nothing comes of it.

Much of India is yet to feel the difference though. A very large majority of our businesses are still family-owned and in the category of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises. They may have family members from the third or even fourth generation running the business, yet they refuse to part with their traditions. For much of the countryside I come from, these businesses happen to be the role-models for success. When I wanted to start my business a few years ago, someone advised me not to enter the business field because I lacked the “street-smart” abilities which were a kind of prerequisites for starting a new business. Honesty is seen as a weakness.

There are the role-models on the better side as well. Some of the longest-standing business houses in India such as the Tatas and Birlas have also built themselves on the strong foundations of integrity. In a vast country like ours, with a rich and varied heritage, we cannot have different rules for different people. When the Tata Group went beyond one hundred years, it is clearly evident that they did something right. They continue to grow and still hold the same set of values with high regard. It goes to show that for an organization’s growth in the longer term, it is not the speed that matters, but rather it is the vision and values that do.

Ethics is not just about business. Last week, on the metro train, I found a girl who had prepared written bits of paper, which were supposed to aid her in the exams she would be attending later the same day. It was a knee-jerk reaction. She would probably regret it the same day. But, it was also likely that she would never get caught. And then, what? She would probably repeat it until she got caught one day. Regardless of whether she got caught or not some day, there is bound to be a deep upheaval of the conscience one day soon. It is not possible to walk away with such deeds and then, sleep in peace.

Time has proved it all. If you don’t believe in God, if you don’t believe in the law, if you don’t believe in any code of conduct ever prepared by the hands of men, there will still be others who do believe. And, you are never too far away from the clutches of time. Eventually, everything has to give away. Good deeds give away to good results and bad deeds are displaced by all things evil. If the Tatas have done well without shortcuts, if all those foreign business have done well without shortcuts even after waiting for so many years, doesn’t it show how much better it would be to do the right thing?

I wish we would change our attitude towards shortcuts. Let us say NO to it. Let us work hard, let us work harder. Let us be patient and let us persevere. Let us wait for our time and let us have a fair deal. But we shall not break our rules, nor shall we earn what’s not rightly ours. Thence shall success be ours, no matter what. Here’s me signing off! Good Day! Good Night!

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