Humility and Determination

April 5, 2006

Humility and Determination = Sustained Greatness

Having written a famous book, the author was desirous of greater, more precise knowledge about corporate success. Jim Collins undertook such a research for five years with 25 team members among hundreds of companies. The result was a more famous book which sold two million copies. He is the number one management expert today. His findings are as follows.

  • Great companies are famous, but they are really not great.
  • Greatness lies in sustained success for a long period.
  • They are less known and their CEOs are less well known.
  • Their CEOs are humble and determined.
  • One dollar invested in famous companies in 1965 will become 58 dollars in 2000 while one dollar in these really great companies will be $471 in 2000.

This is the secret of accomplishment, not only true to companies but to any organisation, even family and personally. In his book he speaks of over 100 valid findings. Most of them are striking if not startling. His book has become so famous in the last four years that it can be purchased in Indian bookstores. He has called it Good to Great. The market values him so such that he is paid $150,000 for a single performance. Can we look at it from the Indian Spiritual point of view? Will it be of any relevance in our daily life?

Jim Collins has arrived at great truths of accomplishment and spelt them out in his book. He has not started with any theory or hypothesis but arrived at his conclusions from data – empirical findings are of enormous value for the practical mind of the West. A few things are worth considering.

  • To avail of the earlier experience is common sense and rational.
  • To refuse to listen to the wisdom of the world is petulant superstition.
  • No superstructure can ever be built without the foundation of the past. Even when you disregard it, subconsciously you will be building on it.
  • To avail of the past here is to receive from above which alone is real receptivity. It is time saving.
  • One has to receive in the Mind to receive from above. Empirical finding instructs the mind in the body.

Indian wisdom sees the full truth in Jim's findings but can essentially improve upon it. Jim's findings, though essential and great, are incomplete. Each one of Jim's 100 findings requires a full explanation of a few pages. While Jim has valid findings, nowhere does he explain why they are valid or how. To explain how is to validate it theoretically. To explain why is to offer its rationale. Jim finds them and states them as empirical facts. Without explaining the why or how, it may be implicitly followed with benefit but it will be a kind of superstition, maybe psychological superstition. One cannot rationally follow it. Of the hundred ideas, let me illustrate what I say in one which says such CEOs look for the reason inside when things go wrong and look outside when work is accomplished.

In the Upanishads they said Sarvam Brahman. Sri Aurobindo said in the Supermind each is in all and all is in each. Therefore in Supermind there is no failure; success is everlasting. The successful CEOs out of their long experience and personal temperament have arrived at this. When something succeeds, they do not appropriate it to their ego. They look for other causes outside. When something goes wrong, instead of apportioning blame on others, they look for the cause inside. This is the principle that sees the whole world inside. Should you be desirous of knowing how this is true, you must be willing to learn philosophy. America has excelled in fashioning a practical organisation of production from field experience. Indian philosophy knew it in its knowledge of the Spirit discovered long ago. That knowledge easily lends itself to be converted into an organisation. Doing so, we arrive at such an organisation from theory for which reason it is far more valid and admits of no failure.

We see people are of several types.

  • Those who discover new strategies for accomplishment.
  • Those who can follow strategies discovered by others.
  • Those who can imitate only a living example.
  • Those who must be instructed before they act.
  • There are others who cannot take instruction but need training.
  • Others must be trained by compulsion.
  • Finally there are those who will not move till the whole world has become successful and they are compelled to follow it.

Finding yourself at some point, you can make a beginning. These are principles best suited to a company. Next best is the family. When no one will listen to you in the family, you can do it yourself in your life and meet with a phenomenal success that lasts forever. If anything, it will further expand. Presently Indian wisdom is followed unconsciously. We witness it in the lives of some political leaders and other men of extraordinary talents. In them we find some common traits.

  • They are humble because they occupy a humiliating situation.
    It is better to be humble because we choose humility.
  • They have often risked their all compelled by inescapable compelling circumstances.
    Out of a higher wisdom we must choose to risk like them willingly and happily.
  • They refuse to gloat over their success often as the environment will not permit them that luxury. Even when the circumstances permit it, we must refuse to avail of it.
  • They never rely on technology as they have seen technology failing.
    Technology is inanimate. Man is live. Rely on him.
  • Nor should one rely on the market. Know it is our faith that creates the market.
  • There is no exclusive self-reliance. A company is not driven by authority. It is upheld by the interest and enthusiasm of the many executives.
  • Their knowledge of accomplishment is subconscious. It is a conscious knowledge that the Individual alone accomplishes when he effaces the ego.