For the first time, our strategy of generating runtime questions was failing dearly. When you realize that you are interviewing the “Chief Belief Officer” of Future Group, you have to start believing in your wisdom of knowledge lent by your grandmother’s bed-time stories! We had a tough time challenging this smiling motivational speaker with questions! Presenting you, interview of an Indian physician turned leadership consultant, mythologist, illustrator, columnist and author whose works focus largely on the areas of myth, mythology, and also management, Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik.
Pursuit Of Happiness
Appreciate other people’s imagination. Find ways to appreciate acknowledge and accommodate it, even if the other cannot reciprocate. You will then find wisdom, happiness and love.
Medicine And Mythology
Medical science studies the body, whereas mythology studies the mind. As I explored more into mythology, I studied how people think and behave. How they perceive things. If you scratch the surface, you’ll realize that mythology is all about addressing the human insecurities, aspirations, fears, drives, motivations and so on. Different people look at the same world we live in, in different ways.
The way a patient looks at his illness, is not the way a doctor looks at it. A good doctor will respect the patient’s views of his life. Whereas a not-so-good doctor may try to impose his views on the patient, and tell him that he is wrong, which will only drive the patient away. Mythology attempts to teach you how to respect different points of view. However absurd it may sound to you, it’s not easy!
Passion For Writing
I love writing. I’m almost an addict of writing now. (laughs)
It all started with my decision to document everything. Because I realized that in India, we are not very good at documenting new findings or revelations. It is very critical. We are mostly oral people, and like to tell things, which are eventually lost with time. When I tell mythological stories, many people tell me that they have never heard of it, and say that they didn’t come across it in any book. Documenting is important because most people assume that whatever they can read and perceive is the end of knowledge.
Idea Of An Inclusive India
We all want perfect things in life. We need perfect people around us. Even among the people whom the society calls normal, we still pick on the qualities we don’t like. First we should learn to include people with all their quirks. That is the first step towards including different kind of people in the world, as a part of our lives.
It only depends on how far you’re willing to stretch your envelope. Dealing with spaces that are unfamiliar to you is not easy. We’re part of a culture where adjustment is being considered as a bad thing. If you don’t adjust, how will you include?
How To Include?
We should realize that other people have the right to live the way they want to, even if we disagree with it completely, or find it creating an environment of inconvenience for you. They have the right!
It’s a personal journey, and there cannot be a statement to give the right solution. How far are you willing to open up your heart on a personal level to make that little adjustment for others? Every person will have to deal with it in their own way on an individual level.
Advice To Entrepreneurs
If you’re an entrepreneur, you need to spend a lot of time thinking about how other people perceive your business. Everybody looks at it in different ways. You may think that it is the most beautiful thing on earth, but you need to think about how your employers, customers, and public, think about what you’re doing.
In the context of an inclusive India, a person who is differently abled will be good at certain things much more than the people we consider normal. And that’s an innovative space that can enable us to create efficient work. They can be an integral part of an efficient workspace. But to make that possible, you’ll have to first open your mind to that possibility. If you don’t, then you will probably never discover it.
Message To Budding Writers
Write. Write Everyday.
When you finish writing, start writing again!
Always think about what you write from the readers’ perspective. You may think that you have written a perfect sentence. But others might not see it the same way. You don’t have to change the way you write. But be sensitive about what you’re writing, when it is for someone else. If you’re writing it for yourself, then you could maintain that in your personal diary. You’ll have to be sensitive to their point of view, their English, and their comprehensive abilities. It’s a big challenge, but that investment has to be done if you want to reach out to the masses.
Current Biggest Fear
I have to write another article by tonight! (chuckles)
One Thing That You Want To Do
Write another book. (Laughs)
No… Lose weight!
As “Chief Belief Officer”, I have to ensure that the management knows how to offer its employees “LSD”—monetary incentives (Lakshmi), intellectual and creative growth (Saraswati) and protection (Durga)! I have to startle people and make them see the critical role of belief in business!