Sunday, July 12, 2015

Robin Sharma Teachings: Using Time, Lasting Learning and Humble Mastery

Robin Sharma is a passionate and committed speaker who shares several of his thoughts pro bono. Amongst various teachers of management and coaches of leadership, there is probably no one else who renders his advice freely in both transactional and monetary senses of the term. He also rather walks the talk. It is not uncommon for him to make and release videos of his teachings even when he is on tours. In a recent multi-country tour, for example, he has released a video (The Princess + The Bentley) on how to achieve success and remain successful through certain precepts. While one may say that all of these constitute a carefully crafted global brand building exercise, one cannot deny that there could be nuggets of wisdom that could appeal to, and influence, persons with an open mind.

Interestingly, Robin seems to believe that activities which do not add value in terms of personal and professional success need not, and should not, be performed. For him, intellectualizing one’s mind is more value adding than entertaining it. He, therefore, comments in the recent video that rich people have large televisions while successful people have large libraries. It is, of course, a moot point if success and richness are not correlated with each other! He even goes to the extent of rebuking Angry Birds game watching although viewed from another angle Angry Birds is a stupendous example of how creativity can result in great success in today’s Internet driven world. Be that as may, the author of this blog post felt that three of his teachings in his recent video resonate well with his own views.

Using time

Robin says, not merely in the latest video but in many of his others, that every moment of time is precious. According to him, the value of time is realized by a person when he or she has a purpose in life. Without purpose, one may seem to be doing many things but more often than not they could all constitute nothing but a meandering way of life. Very recently, history has been made by Telugu (an Indian regional language) director, S S Rajamouli when he completed the most magnificent and expensive movie epic “Baahubali” and released in over 4000 screens globally to rave reviews. Anyone who tracks his directorial life can see the purpose in his life of being differentiated and distinctive in terms of each of his directorial ventures to date. Importantly, each has been more unique than the previous one.

Again very recently, another Indian made history when Sania Mirza won the Wimbledon’s Women’s Doubles title. Her life too was one of purpose, from the time she displayed her tennis prowess in regional tournaments. Time is a great enabler and calibrator of continuous improvement. A purpose as great as scaling the Mount Everest cannot be accomplished in a day; rather it requires continuous efforts and improvements, day after day. Each morning and each evening, we need to appreciate what we set out to achieve and what we have achieved, respectively. A mighty production like Baahubali may take two years to make but the whole process has an embedded higher purpose and ceaseless mastery. Time is a silent enabler and relentless critique of our purposefulness in life. There can be no better mirrors for transformation than a calendar and clock!  

Lasting learning

Robin says, very rightly so, that one can never finish with learning in one’s life. This is what Indian scriptures teach us too. Continuous learning and unceasing practice lead to mastery but mastery has no limits. The last year’s neurosynaptic chip or the latest 7 nm chip of IBM chip demonstrates how new and nano technologies have provided tremendous computing push to chips. Apparently, and in reality, there exist no limits or boundaries to knowledge. While certain fundamental laws could be immutable and timeless, experimentation and development would result in continuous new learning streams. Continuous learning leads to all-round benefits, even as it ushers in new ways of doing things and makes a few redundant, if not obsolete. As Japanese society demonstrates, taking personal and round the clock care of impaired elderly is a must but the task can now well be performed by humanoid robots, programmed for the purpose.

Learnings may not always be new. In fact, several lifetime lessons may simply be embedded in oneself without immediate deployment. One must be thoughtful and mindful as well as introspective and reflective to rediscover, revisit and redeploy them as new occasions demand. Learnings become virtuous when they are reinforced by neural triggering processes. For example, this blog post itself is triggered by Robin’s video, triggering a combination of Robin’s teachings with author’s own beliefs. The ability to keep mind free, as Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore held, is an important facet of continuous learning that lasts a lifetime. It is left to the individuals to as to how open one would keep one’s mind free to be able to absorb continuously learnings even as one is required to being decisive.

Humble mastery

Mastery brings a rare capability and recognition to masters as they are recognized to be distinctly superior in their field or craft. Yet, masters who are humble have consistently won better acceptance than masters who are egoistic or arrogant. Robin holds that arrogance spells failure to masters. The concept of humble mastery is important as mastery brings name and fame which could lead to certain egoistic states in masters. Here, the awareness that as with learning there is really no end to mastery could make masters feel humble. Also, masters being in the company of other masters or coaching bright disciples who could be shining new angles on existing knowledge could help masters stay humble.

Mastery over the domain has to be accompanied by mastery over one’s self for ultimate humility. As ancient Indian scriptures say, the capability of Sthita Prajna, as defined by Lord Krishna in the epic Bhagavatgita, connotes a stable wisdom that is primed by an ability to control oneself by inner thoughts and be unmoved by either attraction or repulsion as well as by happiness or remorse is the ultimate state of self-control. While mastery in a domain could be a purpose, mastery over one’s own self is also an essential purpose of life. Humility as a trait is a good shadow to have for one’s personality even as it evolves over several learnings of life.

More sharing

Like Robin Sharma does, this author shares several of his perspectives on his weekly blog post cadence. Not all would be felt relevant by all and for all situations. Nevertheless, the author believes that the more one shares intellectually the more the society benefits collaboratively. There would be anecdotal hyperboles occasionally like the sales manager of Bentley cars flying to Volkswagen factory to get a paint that is an exact replica of the world’s only one unique nail polish possessed by the princess. As with all anecdotes, the underlying moral is more important than the visible message! So is it with all passionate and positive initiatives of perspective sharing in the author’s Strategy Musings! 

Posted by Dr CB Rao on July 12, 2015

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