The worse blindness is the one when we ‘deliberately refuse to see’!

Last week I met a good friend who used to be my direct report. He recently got promoted as general manager and has always been a great sparring buddy. Besides the fact that I feel extremely proud to see him growing and pleased to be part of it, I also find our talks and engagement inspiring myself as he always add something to the conversations which makes me grow too.

Among different things we spoke about, reminiscing about the time we worked together, the adversities we had – how we surmounted them as well as his/our current challenges, we also spoke about long term ambition and discussed ‘why some people get ahead on their careers and others, even being extremely bright, don’t go so far.

“Opportunities come disguised as hard work.” By Bernardinho (Brazilian volleyball coach and former player).

Then he brought in a very interesting analogy from Indian mythology

Once Lord Shiva (Time-Eternal manifested as the Lord) and Parvati (Mother-nature personified as Wife of Lord Shiva) were exploring Planet earth and were passing by a village (In the invisible mode as the gods naturally are to the humans).

They both saw a poor man passing by. Mother Parvati took pity on the poor man and asked the Lord to make him rich. The lord smiled and spoke – Dear beloved Parvati, this poor man is not destined to be rich… and even if I try to provide all the riches of the world to him, he will not be able to see it. Mother Parvati however was persistent and the lord obliged by dropping a bag of gold on the path that this man was about to cross after a couple of minutes on his way.

The man while walking had a following thought in his mind – he asked himself, how could blind men must be finding their way when they cannot see anything? Having thought so the man decided to walk like a blind man and see if he could make his way to his destination. He started walking with his eyes closed and crossed over the bag of gold which otherwise he would have found and become rich. Lord Shiva looked at Parvati and smiled and thus Parvati was convinced and agreed with Shiva.

We laughed very hard and back to our discussion and bringing it to our lives, most people fail because they either don’t know how to win or how to identify opportunities. In many stages of our lives we need someone who can help us to articulate our dreams, set priorities and devise a plan for the attainment of such dreams.

So, when it comes to opportunities, when, how and why we miss them? How do we identify them?

I (all of us) have seen people missing opportunities and I concede, looking back, I may have missed a few too. And why we see it? Because we are watching or looking from a different angle. Like on the Indian-mythology, we often fail to recognize them because we cannot see it. Sometimes they come disguised of something like hard work, as a tedious job (those nobody wants to do), sometimes our own attitude and you name it.

Thinking of it and to increase my chances to identify an opportunity, I try to remind myself to think win-win – learning from Trevor’s coaching material and the ‘5th Habit’ from Stephen R. Covey’s bestselling book – ‘The 7 habits of highly Effective People’.

Short excerpt from the habit 5

“Think win/win entails making an important deposit in another person’s Emotional Bank Account: finding a way both of you can benefit by your interaction. All the other possibilities – win/lose (I win, you lose), lose/win (I lose, you win), and lose/lose – are ineffective, either in the short term or the long term. The best way to approach Win/Win dealing is to remember that it (like all agreements) embodies a caveat: The complete description is “Win/win – or no deal.” Your attitude should be, “I want to win, and I want you to win, If we can’t hammer something out under those conditions, let’s agree that we won’t make a deal this time. Maybe we’ll make one in the future.””

On day-to-day it means. When in the business we identify an adversity preventing the project or organization to deliver better results, the line of thinking we should program to prompt in our minds is ‘how can we overcome it?’ – Regardless of this being within or outside scope or direct area of activity. If we have an idea to help solving it, we better share or volunteer to take the lead as it may create a valuable opportunity for us or even our team (learning and growth).

Sometimes challenge affects other teams and, depending on how the organization is structured, it may seem not be important for them but affects organization as a whole. Practicing that, next time we see a challenge that maybe falls outside our scope and we know how to solve it, instead of criticizing why or how it is not solve or could be resolved, offer to help, practice some empathy and take the lead in converting the challenge into an opportunity – for both, you, peers, manager and the organization as a whole.

I vehemently believe that this kind of approach and attitude increases our chances to have our eyes peeled towards great opportunities.

Thank you my friend Captain Jeevan for the chat and great analogy from Indian mythology.

Picture: Paulo Reis

From my previous post, I am sharing with you

What am I reading? ‘HOW I DID IT’ Edited by Daniel Mc Ginn.  This is a very interesting compilation from Harvard Business Review full of stories from business leaders on how the surmounted different business challenges.

What am I listening? The Bones of J.R. Jones – ‘Sing Sing

What discussions am I having? The ability to step back and look at setback from a different standpoint is not easy but an important aspect of our growth as person and professional.  We always learn someting from it!

Questions I am asking myself? When persistence become stubborness?