Monday, August 16, 2010

Losing principal while growing the interest - वृद्धिमिष्टवत्

In life or business there are many times, when we are focused on the future growth. We come up with great plans, course of action to achieve the desired goals. But if in such planning we overlook to protect what we already have, then it is something like getting the desired interest rate but losing the principal itself!

So, what we already have, we should protect, secure. Our growth should not be at the expense of our current core values and competencies. We should safeguard it from our blindingly excited future plans!

In today's fast track world, we see many young people working overtime, exerting themselves, eating fast food, sleeping at weird hours, sitting long hours in sedentary but high paying jobs? And hence  the cases of health issues are rising - back problems, heart problems, cholesterol and blood pressure, increasingly become fatal at younger and younger ages with time.

In the rush to make money faster, we do two people's job, and end up hurting our own health, peace, family time and the chance to smell the roses. If you look at the big picture, we are losing out a lot in the mad rush to quick gains. Our aspirations have grown bigger, and we keep rationalizing it that once a certain amount is made we will relax, but that usually doesn't happen till a major health issue literally puts brakes on our life.

Or take the case of the man who worked so hard to be able to give his wife a good life, he ended up spending so little time with her, that she left him and married someone else. So, true he got the money he wanted to provide for his wife a lifestyle he thought she wanted, but now he doesn't even have the wife.

Or to some degree even the Gift of the Magi story fits this situation. Both the husband and wife sacrifice their prized possession to get a gift for the other, but now they had the gift for the other, but the gifts couldn't be used. She had sold her hair to get him a chain for his pocket watch, he had sold his pocket watch to get her a comb! They surely got the gift, but lost the original!

Here is a small nyAyaH, maxim that captures a wonderful essence of common or business life.

वृद्धिमिष्टवतः मूलमपि ते नष्टम्
= vRiddhim_iShTavataH mUlam_api te naShaTam
= [Indeed, you have] growth as wished for, [but] your principal also is destroyed!

And this can be shortened for quick reference as simply -
वृद्धिमिष्टवतः = vRiddhim_iShTavataH

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and now the language aspects of the shloka -

vRiddhim = growth

iShTavataH = as desired, wished for.
iShTa = desired. wished for.
from this comes iShTa-devatA = personal desired form of the deity
ichchhA (hindi) = wish

mUlam = root, base, principal amount
api = also

te = yours
the te and me usage is the older style and in mantras.
e.g. the most famous shloka from gItA : karmaNi-eva-adhikAraH-te = in action - only - control - YOUR (your control is only in action)

naShaTam = destroyed. (adjective)

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(c) shashikant joshi । शशिकांत जोशी । ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः ।
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  1. I don't want to be rude here but whenever I see this kind of advice from people, I feel that they have done whatever they wanted in their life....had all the fun and now after vexed up/bored with it, start advising others :)
    My question is, how can someone have growth in life when they don't put up sufficient efforts? All the great companies we have today might not be there if everyone decided not to work too hard.....we can't have what would be your suggestion if someone wants to have both interest as well as retain the principal?
    of course, again how much interest one wants to have is again debatable and varies from person to whole point is one has to decide between the two can't have both

  2. hi rakesh, thanks for commenting.
    i will skip the first paragraph :) since that is not adding any value to the discussion but just an assumption. such assumptions are neither useful nor healthy :)

    this post is not about not working hard, but to keep the balance, and not working so hard that it takes a job from another and it takes living and family time from us.

    wisdom of ages doesn't care what we do with it, do we take it or not. so no one cares whether we break our back on a 6am to 11pm job handling multiple timezones and all that. at the end only we will pay for our choices.

    companies can reach great heights even with balanced workload, by hiring just a bit more people and paying them all a bit reasonable. then, not only everyone gets a little less money, but a little bit more time to live.

    at the end, it is our life, and most of the people around us will say they are working and building empires for their family, and society. but are we making time for them?

    this maxim can be applied to many situations. and that depends upon the individual. even in business, as pointed in the post, we should save what is our principal, what made us grow in the first place, the principles, values, commitment, respect for customer.

    and then we start growing and think we are the boss of the market, and start cutting on customer service because we have to grow faster than the competition. this is just one example. so, here, to grow more (interest) we maybe hurting the principal (core values, customer care etc.) and eventually spiral down instead of rising up!

    you can find more applications as you move in life, and it will maybe vary by individual experience, but the maxim just captures an observation, a principle. where, when and how much to apply, is upto individuals. :)

    hope you see the essence of it now.

  3. makes sense...thanks sashi
    btw liked your other posts as well...looks like its all coming from years of experience :)


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