7 September 2013 - QA 1

Gurudev, how to be diplomatic and what is the art of getting your work done?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Being diplomatic is seeing the point from the other person’s angle as well. Getting into the other person’s shoes and looking at the situation. Being a little more sensible. Diplomacy is being sensitive and sensible at the same time.

Many people are very sensitive. When they are too sensitive they lose their sensibility. When they speak they don’t make sense. And there are many people who make perfect sense but they are not sensitive. They say correct things but emotionally they are not sensitive about how what they are saying is being taken. We need that beautiful combination of sensitivity and sensibility.

Often people who are rude and rough swear on their correctness. They say, 'I am correct’. When you’re angry, even though you are saying the correct thing, nobody wants to take it. You’re correctness is rejected though you are correct, because you’re not sensible, you’re not diplomatic. You are not putting it in their mind. So what happens is, your communication breaks down even though you’re saying the most correct thing. The listener is putting a wall in front of him or her.

Your purpose of communicating the right thing to them is gone.

It is not how correct, what you are saying, that is important, it is how you make the other person understand, that what you are saying, is correct. That is the skill..

Simple things, you have a correct idea but you’re dad doesn’t have. Your father doesn’t have the right vision and you have the right vision. How many of you think like this? (Audience raise hands) See!

‘I know how to do business. I know the correct idea but dad doesn’t know!’ Right? Raise your hands, don’t feel shy! (audience raise hands)

Youngsters think differently. ‘This is how we can make better business and dad doesn’t agree with this!’

Then you tell dad, ‘Dad you’re wrong. This is not the right thing to do!’ That’s it! His ego is hurt and he is not going to listen to you, even though you are saying the right thing he will not listen.

He is ready to let go of his business but not his ego! He is ready to suffer the loss, but he doesn’t like to be humiliated.

That is where you need the skill. How will you say? ‘Dad, I think this would be a better idea, but you know best.’

Just this one thing, ‘Dad, you know the best, but I think this may work, what do you say?’

Then he’ll say, ‘Oh, okay beta (son), I think you are right, I’m wrong.’

Then he will accept that he is wrong and you are right. You need to create that space.

Whether at work or at home, when people feel comfortable talking to you, they talk to you and they feel that their view points are heard. You may be very caring and loving person, but if you don’t have that communication skill, you will only suffer more.

You’ll think, ‘Oh I’m so good. I only think for the good for the company, I think only good for the family, but everything has gone topsy-turvy!’ How many of you agree with me? (audience raise hands)

This is where you need this wisdom of sensitivity and sensibility. Keep these two things.

There is a way to tackle the ego. I have seen big companies, big institutions completely collapse just because of this. I wouldn’t name the company, but there was a great man in India who put a factory for anything he needed. If he needed a needle, he wouldn’t buy one, he would put a needle factory. From cars, to steel, iron, clothes, fans, everything! He had a 150 different businesses. This elderly man who had not even been to high school built a big business empire and gave it to two of his sons. Probably you’re guessing already! (audience laughs)
Your guess is not correct! It is not the Mumbai based one, it’s a different company. He had two sons and six daughters. It’s not two sons and one daughter which you all know!

This gentleman made all this and gave it to his two sons, and one manager played between the two sons. He would tell the elder brother that your younger brother said this to me, and to the younger one he would say, your elder brother said this to me. He broke their communication. They would not communicate with each other. Their ego came in-between and first they bifurcated the companies, and then it collapsed. Everything collapsed.
Couple of the 150 different companies are working today, everything else is absolutely gone! Ego clash! Simply that! Just a manager, or an employee can create this rift between two brothers.

Similarly, a servant maid at home can create a drift between a mother-in-law and a daughter-in-law. Does it happen? How many say yes? (audience raise hands)

The servant would say the mother-in-law said not to listen to you, and she will tell the mother-in-law, you know you’re daughter-in-law said not to listen to you. That’s enough! Just one thing is good enough.

The manager would say, your brother asked me not to tell you this. Finished! You’ve sown a seed of mistrust. A simple thing, the elder boss said not to tell this thing to you. What not to tell is not important. That one seed of mistrust sown and a rift starts happening.

A rift happened and big business houses have collapsed totally. We have seen this in this country. Not one or two times, but dozens of them. Why? That bonding was not there.
That’s where spirituality makes a very big difference. Here, every day, we resolve many such issues! Every day! Not one or two, hundreds! Sensitivity and sensibility.

Like yesterday, I said that the mind always goes for something new, latest fashion. But the heart yearns for old. You never say this is my latest friendship! You don’t take pride in a fresh friendship. ‘I became friends two hours ago.’ It has no value, but when you say, he’s my old friend, that has value.

Your heart yearns for the old, takes pride in the old. That’s why when you’re in love you feel you’ve been in love for ages. You feel like that. It’s an ancient love. It’s an old friendship. You don’t say that’s an old fashion. You don’t take pride in old fashion. Mind goes for new, heart goes for ancient and life is a combination of old and new. We need both. (audience claps)