Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Why are We Rich and Unhappy?

Becoming rich is one thing but getting happiness is entirely different ball game. World economy is growing but not happiness. People are becoming better off but feeling worse. This is a very common problem. It has always been a challenge to find the exact reason. The reasons are being searched in this article.

Once upon a time, the results of market capitalism was generally agreed to make people better off. Nowadays that is not clear. A number of economists and politicians think that it ought to be doing something else: making people happy, says The Economist in an article titled Happiness (and how to measure it).

I as a technocrat feel that the reasons of happiness can not be easily traced by economist, politicians or other professionals. Earlier technologies and inventions were not impacting the society in a big way at one time. But, the inventions of last few decades have changed these old beliefs. The changes which have taken place around the world in last few decades are mainly due to electronics and Information Technology. So, the reasons of happiness can only be found by some technocrats who have seen the growth of electronics and IT. The world will have to accept this new dimension.

Growth Charts

With an annual growth rate of 3.2% per head since 2000, the world economy is heading towards notching its best decade ever. So, in this situation, 6 billion people of the world will have to face a different world order. The changes are new. The resources available are different. The accessibility is different. The connectivity is different. The borders, languages and regions are becoming irrelevant. The quests and means to find job, earning money and making social circles are changing.

Now David Cameron, the latest leader of Britain’s once rather materialistic Conservative Party, has espoused the notion of general well-being (GWB) as an alternative to GDP. In the US, meanwhile, inequality, over-work and other hidden costs of prosperity were discussed in mid-term elections. In India on the name of common man, government tries to find the reasons why prosperity not spreading widely. The developing world is struggling to provide basic amenities. The reasons of finding happiness amidst prosperity remain a burning issue.

There has always been a good discussion among the people of developing world to talk about the unhappiness of the people of developed world. People again got a point when a survey data reveals that affluent countries have not got much happier as they have grown richer. The same thing may happen or is already happening even in developing countries. Luxuries have become the necessity. Management of richness remains a challenge. In addition, it remains a challenge to bring the masses what elites have always enjoyed. Once, you get the most starved things take for granted. The process is unending. In all these different situations, the questions remain that how to achieve happiness?

In Search of Happiness

In my point of view, happiness becomes very complex in the midst of growth. As growth becomes exponential, the situation becomes explosive. In these circumstances, there is a need to look at things differently. That is what I am going to do here in this article.

There are various books on human psychology and managerial philosophy. There are plenty of write-ups on how to learn the important characteristics which all successful people possess or are supposed to possess. There are books on thinking, dreaming, meditation, yoga and so on ….there are volumes written on these aspects of human activities and personalities. But are there any books written on what you need not do. What you should not learn? What you should not work on? There is hardly any research on these aspects of human complexities to understand what you are supposed to UNLEARN if you want to belong to the category of successful and happy people?

Everybody talks about one or other trait to be developed. How to acquire characteristics of successful people? How to learn lessons from the success? People join various institutes to learn these traits. There are many teachers or so-called preachers who are willing to enhance your capabilities to learn more and learn fast. They are ready to teach you some more human traits besides what you already have. They are also ready to tell you what are the most necessary qualities that you lack. They teach you how to develop positive attitudes. They do not feel shy in telling that the only thing you ever lacked in life is a positive attitude. She becomes a big failure in spite of her great learning. How the happiness will emerge amidst lacking?

Even with the sharp rise in social and economic growth in the poorest parts of civilization, the growth has never been homogeneous; rather, a huge benefit has gone to few individuals or families and meager benefits to the remaining individuals and societies. Is it any surprise if the world’s 500 richest people have as much wealth as the poorest three billion put together? Even in the developed nations, if the changes are not monitored on a regular and constructive basis, the society or even the country could suffer and would suffer more in future. Such suffering has occurred at the individual level. This has been witnessed in the life of an organization. This is being observed in the nation build-up. Fast changes taking place in various aspects around the world have to be integrated into our policymaking process to harness the benefit for the human being, organization and nation. That is what Microsoft did. In the 1997, in the first CEO summit, they declared the objective for the next ten years as ‘friction free-capitalism’, in the 2006; they changed to ‘friction free-innovation’. Individual, society, organization or even nations have to keep ‘unlearning on a regular basis’ to reap the benefit of civilization.

Unlearning Past to Achieve Happiness in Present

Learning is not at all a solution but many a time, these are the big problems, because you will have to unlearn, whatever you have learnt, if it is not good for your future. Unlearning will be more difficult than learning. But you do not have any choice. You will be forced to Unlearn. So Stop Learning, Rather UNLEARN or LEARN TO UNLEARN before it is too late to unlearn. It is time to concentrate and know more about your Unlearn Quotient (UQ). (UQ is based on the critical factors. These factors work as a theory of human growth.)

Your UQ will take you ahead more than others. Your UQ will pave the way for your better future. Your UQ will reduce the contradictions and ambiguities of your life. Your UQ will show you the path to achieve next generation of time management. Your UQ will be the measurement of your happiness.

The beginning of the 20th century was the year when the major emphasis was on learning, while by the end of the century, the year could be defined as ‘How fast and how much can you learn’. But the 21st century has started with the critical need of unlearning. The years could well be defined as ‘How fast can you unlearn’. Unlearn was not found in earlier dictionaries, however in the recent ones, it has been explained and elaborated on in detail. As per Encarta, Unlearn means discard something previously learnt like an old habits, try to forget, put out of one’s memory or knowledge. Oxford English Dictionary writes, Unlearn - verb - aim to discard (something learned) from one’s memory. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines it very suitably to meet the present day requirement of understanding unlearn. It says that unlearn is to make an effort to forget your usual way of doing something so that you can learn a new and something better way.

19th century - Limited Learning
20th century - More Learning
21st century - Unlearning

Learning and Unlearning Dilemmas!

I define unlearning as an extension of learning. Unlearning means to remove, discard, forget, and leave undesirable things from minds. Unlearning means keeping mind free from unwanted information, deleting irrelevant data from memory and having more free space in minds for future thinking. Unlearn is the process of removing something from your priority list of doing things. Unlearn is the way or path to move from self-defeating methods of performing something to different methods, leading to the road of success. Unlearn is the method to prepare a list of parameters to discard from life for a better life. Unlearn is the preparation of futurist steps for a successful life. Unlearn is the challenging age old traditions and customs which are keeping a human being away from even basic amenities. Like you put up efforts to learn something good, you need to put efforts to unlearn something bad. Learning can be done through various methods, similarly unlearning can also be done through some other methods. It is important for all of us to learn more about unlearn to live a better life in the 21st century.
Irrespective of the country or place, individuals will have to unlearn to have more happiness in life. There are few factors which are essential to achieve the tough task of happiness.

Theory of Human Happiness

The necessity of unlearning is basically to satisfy the various needs of human beings. However it is necessary to know seven critical factors (SCF) to achieve the objectives. I have personally experienced and implemented these factors since the last thirty years. With critical observation of self, family, developing society, reading and seeing the developed and developed world, I have concluded that these seven critical factors as ‘theory of human happiness’. In the first instance, the factors may not appear as critical as any postulate in the development of scientific theory, but once critical analysis is done then the importance and effectiveness can be understood and appreciated. The seven critical factors are -

1. Thinking and Action – In search of truth. How could you think and act correctly? Is it easy to find truth?
2. Aspirations – Goal of life! Are you capable enough to decide about your goal?
3. Sex – Human Relationship. Relationships are the most complicated aspects of human growth. Sex is at the core of all the human relationships.
4. God – Ethics and Behaviour. God makes you a gentleman or gentlewoman otherwise you remain a demon. Understanding God is essential for human growth.
5. Parents – As you sow so you reap. Parents are responsible to sow a seed of growth. Are you sure of your correct seed for growth?
6. God Father – Sense of security. Th human is a fearful creature. Always look for a godfather for your growth.
7. Wisdom Domain – Knowledge Source! Life without knowledge is hell. Create wisdom domain (WD) in this world of Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO).

The details of all these seven critical factors have to be monitored on regular basis. It is important to know that how these are keeping the human progress restricted. Once these critical issues are clear, we would be in a better position to understand and analyze happiness.

No amount of money or position can make us happy. Life needs few basic things for smooth journey. Unlearning has potential to bring normalcy and contentment back to anybody’s life. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 15, 2007

Consultants: Business Booming

KI Woo of The Nation talks to three leading consultants from Deloitte, Human Capital Alliance, and the Boston Consulting Group.

In the never-ending quest to improve shareholder value, most Nation Top 1000 companies are constantly looking for ways to optimize their processes and procedures.

To help them achieve their overall goals, consultants have been swarming all over Thailand offering the latest cutting-edge business processes and procedures. Armed with these strategies, Top 1000 companies hope to continue being dominant players in this market and at the same time become global-class competitors.

Apirak Jatukanyaprateep, a partner of consulting services at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Jaiyos Co Ltd said that his company has been helping many Top 1000 Thai companies revamp their organization with Business Process Reorganizations (BPR).

“To optimize shareholder value, many companies now realize that they must conduct extensive BPRs to ensure that their business processes and procedures are at optimal global standards,” he said.

A company’s operational efficiency he said has become a major determinant of global competitiveness. “Companies must have processes that allow them to deliver global quality products and services at the most competitive prices,” he said.

Finding effective leaders is also critical for building a sustainable Nation Top 1000 company. As the Thai economy continues expanding, top- flight managers capable of effectively leading Top 1000 companies are in constant demand.

Edwin Sim, CEO of Human Capital Alliance -an executive search firm in Thailand- said that his company is often asked by Nation Top 1000 companies to find new leaders that are capable of taking the company to the next level of competitiveness. “The executive structure of Top 1000 companies has changed immensely in the past decade,” he said.

Many multinational companies, Sim said have in the past decade gradually localized their senior management. “Many companies today recognize that leaders who grew up in a local environment and have attained the necessary large-company business leadership skills have a much greater chance for success,” he said.

Sim added that today many young Thai business professionals are spending their formative business years developing skills and relationships overseas. “In the future, many of these young professionals will be heading major companies in Thailand,” he said.

With Thailand continuing to hold its own as a foreign direct investment destination, Sim said that although most new companies that come into Thailand may initially build their operating platforms with overseas senior managers, almost all of them have a general plan to quickly localize their operations. “In the past decade, Thailand has developed many capable senior managers who are cross-culturally sensitive and possess the skills to operate global class companies,” he said.

These companies, he added are constantly seeking advice from executive search consultants such as HCA. “In an expanding economy, top-flight senior managers are always in demand,” he said.

Another important subject Thai businessmen discuss today is how best to handle change and remain competitive.

On a recent visit to Thailand, Carl Stern, Co-chairman of Boston Consulting Group told The Nation that keeping our organizations vital and competitive has become a perpetual battle. “Companies have to reinvent what they do and how they do it almost constantly,” he said.

Leaders who run businesses today, he said can never relax and if they want their companies to be vital, they themselves must also be vital. “If they are able to secure some competitive advantage, it will also paint a very large bull’s-eye on their backs,” he said.

Consequently, leaders must never become complacent because today’s business environment, Stern said is increasingly unforgiving. “It has become mercilessly efficient, yet also faster and more complex as globalization and rapid changes in supply and demand take hold,” he said.

According to Stern, in the past many leaders believed a company could enjoy a profitable long-life if it could gain competitive advantage during a business’s growth phase and held on to it while the business matured. “Today we know that when a business matures several things happen,” he said.

Market segments today, he said are increasingly becoming finer and the resulting segmentation allows competitors to attack maturing and often successful businesses. “It very difficult for one competitor to serve all segments,” he said.

As a result, Stern said business has turned into a never-ending fight for survival. “You now seldom see an end-game that includes a long period of stable competitive relationships for mature businesses once growth has slowed. Today you can never have it nailed,” he said.

Consequently consultants such as BCG are always asked to provide cutting-edge solutions that can even help revitalize successful companies.

One of the most difficult tasks for any leader is guiding the organization through today’s ever-continuous changing business environment. Stern said that there are many overriding reasons why companies find it difficult to change. Surprisingly, many companies, he said simply misperceive the consequences of any on-coming threat. “How could Sony as a leading TV brand miss the whole flat-panel revolution,” he asked.

Sony, he said believed so much in it market-leading Trinitron TV that it didn’t believe anything better could be built. Stern said Motorola completely missed the digital age because its engineers really believed that the market didn’t know what was best for itself,

Some organizations, Stern said are able to perceive a threat but don’t have the capability to respond. “The change is so overwhelming that they simply don’t have the heart for it,” he said.

Companies that want to succeed in today’s fast-changing competitive environments, Stern said must engage their employees early. “You need to enlist the whole organization to be alert to change,” he said.

Secondly, companies must know how to separate the wheat from the chaff by focus on one or two critical challenges each year and then focus the organization’s attention on them. “Doing this well, requires constant focused communications on one or two issues,” he said.

With the Thai economy expected to continue growing at record levels during the next several decades, consultants such as BCG, HCA, and Deloitte along with many of their cohorts will undoubtedly continue to offer Thai companies ever-changing cutting-edge products to ensure they maintain their competitive edges.

The Nation

Friday, January 12, 2007

Understand Politics Over Dying Regional Languages

Politics over dying regional languages is an universal phenomena. The problems can be seen from Africa to America and from Indian continent to Russia. People need to be conscious to stop exploitations. Future is not going to tolerate to the people for the attachement towards regional language.

I am fortunate to have sufficient education to understand the growth contradictions of society. Especially, when I am trying to find the reasons for individual development, my education and experience helps me to look at the problems differently. I am convinced about the fact that the regional language plays a very significant role in our overall behaviour, relationship, habit and personality. It is not very difficult to find the people with regional accent at any platform in India. But these regional languages have no future in global village. Let us study why regional languages have no future? We will look into different aspects like education pattern, class struggles, professional options, and unification of languages.

Changed Education Trend

The trend is universal. All countries including India are suffering from this problems. There is a need to eradicate old education system to give way to new one with due emphasis on global languages across the world.

“I have never allowed my schooling to interfere with my education,” said Mark Twain, commenting on the lack of fun in learning in schools. Today with all the multimedia skill sets, you need a different kind of education. Life is fun and education must be focused on enhancing fun rather than making a school or education a prison. The depth of any subject you choose has increased tremendously. You as a human cannot go on learning to enhance your capabilities for a better life. There is no end of information or even knowledge to acquire. Today, you need to get educated to have a good and enjoyable life. Schooling is becoming a thing of the past. Now-a-days, people are forced to talk about unschooling. The educated and learned parents are not concentrating on course, syllabus or school. They are concentrating on other human or environmental activities.

School children need not go to library to search for books all the time. Sitting comfortably at one place at home, café or even a shopping mall she can access complete list of libraries at just one click of the mouse. And whole set of encyclopedias are available at a much cheaper price. It is not necessary that she spends Rs. 40,000 to 50,000 to have the entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica at her premises; she can just spend Rs. 1000 approximately and have the original Britannica displayed on the computer monitor. Internet and other media have made knowledge accessible at your finger-tips at a much lower cost. Children can have access to information so fast and easily as never before in history. But the only constraint is the language.

Class Struggle and Language

We must understand the age old class struggle to evaluate the importance of language. Today, the whole of Indian continent has one of the biggest enemies of development and it is its regional languages. People are killing each other. Leaders in Assam, Maharastra or Karnataka are doing politics over it. People are dying for language affections. Language is dividing the networked environment developed by the growth of Information technology and telecommunication. This division has engulfed every walk of life. This division can be seen in politics, society and even in corporate world.

The struggle of class is not exclusive to Indian environment. Even US is discussing this issue on regular basis. Oprah Winfrey show is a typical example. She does not hesitate to discuss on latest issues disturbing people like class, language, sex, relationship and so on. In one of the show on class, she discussed that how people of different class can be categorized even the way they speak English. English is a global language and people have to understand this. In India, this discussion is very old but still not matured. Today I would like to remind all my friends who are religiously attached to their regional languages to get detached immediately to have a better and successful future. Language is the biggest hurdle in your global outlook.

For more information on Oprah Show, you can go to the website as below

The main question comes, is anybody interested to fall behind and see others moving ahead? I do not think anyone intentionally would like to do it unless compelled by the situations. Let us create a situation where we do not creep at later stage of our life.

Professional Options

The horizon of professions has altered drastically. The technological and economic changes have made profession a new domain altogether. Few years ago when beauty shops came in the limelight hardly anybody had an idea that it would emerge to be such a big profession. Today it has matured. Many ladies and gents are working in these shops. Similarly, other professions like modeling, stewardship, journalism, fashion designing, entrepreneurship, catering and hospitality management, tourism jobs, services industries and so on have emerged. The sudden emergence of call centers, BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing) and other IT related services have changed the concept of working in society all across the world. These services have such manpower-intensive jobs with high financial stakes that it will almost delete the concept of the Gandhian philosophy of Charkha and Chakri. The requirements and search for jobs has to be done based on the latest craze and availability. The expertise of English language remains at the forefront in all these professions.

People cannot afford to rely on the old concept of government jobs or other conservative and conventional jobs. The new generation and the guardians of the new generation have to move from conservatism to look for better and progressive appointments. Today, organizations are not finding suitable educated people in cities. Jobs are moving to smaller towns and villages. Once, it reaches small towns and villages, the educated boys, girls, housewives, househusbands and parents will be forced to change the concept of job-search for their benefit and the benefit of the society. The unlearning of the old conventional jobs has to be done on a priority basis. With, this it brings the necessity of learning a global language to move ahead. It is not the question of getting the job today; it is a question of complete cultural shift.

Earlier, jobs were restricted to agriculture, law, engineering, medicine, management etc. The majority of the people were dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. But, now people will move to cities to get the basic facilities. As per, United Nations estimate, by 2030, 50% of the human population will live in cities. The global language will play its role in a new emerging society.

Trying to get government jobs is the old concept now. Few educated people could get government jobs. Very few will join the loss-making public sectors to have secure jobs. Gone are those days in this fast developing professional environment. The concepts of hard work and joining a profit making company have evolved. The open economy and market has given freedom to join multinationals. It has given freedom to select professions. People change professions like their clothes. Companies are starved of people. People have a luxury of choices. The changes have to be felt, realized, soaked, conceived and understood. Whoever has done this, unlearned the old trends and fears, is enjoying the fruits of growth. The fresh IIM graduates are on auction like the eligible grooms of Andhra Pradesh. Be proactive and chose the professions of the time.

English Has No Alternative

In a recent report, it became clear that regional languages have no future. Many languages are dying out because of population movements, cultural oppressions, wars and economic disasters. Experts say as many as half of the world’s 6,900 languages are endangered. In the name of Olympic Games even China is quietly learning English to join the global community.
In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a huge discussion in all the institutions across India whether we should study English or not. Even today, there is great confusion prevailing in India in particular and other developing nations in general. The people have been given a dose of nationalism in terms of languages. But how far is it advantageous? Is it in a position to give you comfort of knowledge? Is it giving you a better life?

You join any professional Institute; you are forced to study in English. There are hardly any good books available in other languages. All the high level professional books are available in English. There is a tremendous difference in the availability of professional books in English and any other language. The local languages are left for the utilization of local ‘tribes’ only, not for the global person. There was a time when there was a requirement of less information and that too in a different mode like books or drawing or painting or any art medium; but, today when you surf the net for the ocean of information, you are forced to learn, think and act globally. You can not access global information in regional language. The people across the globe are feeling the handicap of being attached to regional languages. Many have started cursing their parents and teachers for the failure. People have started questioning the governmental indecisiveness to implement global languages in school. Karnataka is a typical example of this. Narayana Murthy has already questioned the apathy of governments in state and center. A digital divide starts from regional languages. People are being forced to remain deprived.

Language Unification

The advent of technology has forced humanity to think about the concept of unification of languages. Even the famous Nobel Laureate, Rabindra Nath Tagore, who wrote many poems and prose in Bengali, a local regional language of India, was forced to learn and translate his own writings in English to get a wider audience and recognition, leading to the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913.

The advent of the computer has given a beautiful tool to humanity. If this intelligent machine is to be utilized then in the years to come, the people have to learn fewer languages. The development of an Operating System is a very difficult and tricky proposal. Once it has been developed and matured in approximately a decade’s time, it may be very difficult to develop with those rich features in any other languages. The availability of,,, and so on would ensure some kind of unification in the development and spread of languages in the years to come. As the use and spread of mobile devices increase, more unification of languages will be forced upon the human being. When good professional books were not produced in the last century even with the high level printing technology, is there any reason to believe that, operating systems or other software would be produced in any regional languages?

There was a time when people from South India used to fight against the forceful imposition of Hindi on them. The people from North used to get emotional about the language issues. Schools, colleges and institutions had the tremendous task of keeping a balance between the propagation and utilization of different languages. Now the situation has to converge. Language unification should be taken as an international mission to avoid the gaps between different people and to spread a global culture in this world. The spread of one language will put less pressure on students to learn and master it. People will be able to concentrate on more fruitful work for humanity rather than fighting over languages. We must learn from the statement of the famous thinker, Edward de Bono, who says, ‘Language has been a most important step in human evolution. Language is now the biggest barrier to further evolution.’ He writes further in his famous site that language is an encyclopedia of ignorance. Politicians who send their children to Harvard or Boston for higher studies and do politics over Hindi or other regional languages at their native place should not be able to make a fool of large sections of people.

It was the far sighted vision of American policy makers to accept English as national language after British left their land. The two centuries of magnificent development is the result of this policy. People are not killing or dying based on languages, they are focusing on development and better lifestyle. The result of learning English is so obvious, US is able to create Bill Gates and Stephen Covey.

Today, there is no other option than to unlearn regional languages. People need to unlearn their attachments to regional languages. People must keep themselves away from regional feelings. To have global access, global opportunities, global success and so on people need to be a global citizen with the ability to speak, read and write in global language. Posted by Picasa