Sunday, April 19, 2009

A lesson learnt

I thought I will share with all of you a lesson that I learnt some years back. I was looking after the human resources function of our Company’s factory. I had a nice glass cabin to myself from where I could see those who came to visit me. Luckily, people from outside could not see what I was upto, and that saved my job.

I remember vividly it was the twenty third of April and I was ensconced in my cabin with a fellow manager of mine discussing certain issues. Both of us could see a certain workman called Kumar approaching my cabin. Kumar had somehow or the other been besieged with several problems in his personal life. On some occasion it was his wife who was sick, sometimes his parents or his children, but problems predominated his otherwise cheerful disposition.

My fellow manager told me "Iyer, can you see Kumar coming? I am sure he is coming to request for a loan for his endless problems". In the next two minutes, Kumar knocked at my cabin door and said " Good morning, Sir". By way of a reaction, I asked Kumar " Some more problems, some more loans?’" Kumar looked at me and said "Sir, I remembered that today is your marriage anniversary and I wanted to congratulate you and wish you many more years of wedded bliss". He offered me a flower and a lemon which in South India are regarded auspicious, and hugged me before he left. My eyes were full with tears and I thanked him profusely. I felt like a full bloomed idiot and also felt extremely embarrassed. Even my fellow manager had not extended me wishes that day, but Kumar had remembered an important day in my life.

The lesson Kumar taught me that day was to view each situation anew and never to operate from my mindset. My own mindset and my mental blocks came my way and evoked a bad reaction from me when he entered my cabin. Kumar could have reacted and behaved very differently and walked away thinking what a nincompoop I was. He chose to act differently and accomplished the mission that he came for.

Thanks Kumar for this important lesson. I no more make gross generalisations. In more than one way, you changed my way of thinking and my reactions to life in various situations.


Sylvia K said...

Thank you, iyer, for sharing such a beautiful lesson. A lesson that we could all learn from as I'm sure many of us have had similar feelings about certain individuals. Learning not to judge others is one of the greatest lessons we can learn. Thank you again and have a beautiful evening.

Hopeless Romantic said...

I agree, sometimes we underestimate ppl n dont realise their true worth on time..that they can hold very respectful n caring feelings for us..touching incident:)


Kavi said...

Sir !

Our preconceptions of whats coming our way can sometimes have a telling impact.

Susan Boyle has been in the news for 20 milion hits !

Watch it here !

This was an amazing insight that you shared here. It will stay in me for a long time..!

naperville mom said...


Yes, we do've to remember not to prejudge situations based on past experiences...Thanks for sharing:)

Priya said...

So true and people become cynical of past situation and remember him/ her based on that. Good one.

DebraLSchubert said...

Love this post! It's so easy to judge people only by the past, and not leave the door open for them to show up differently. This is not how we wish others treat us, and so, we should offer up the same grace and opportunity for the unexpected as we'd like to receive. I love how you share your life's lessons!

Sania Mahajan said...

Sir, Thanks for sharing this wonderful lesson!
Since u mentioned about this special date in one of the classes, I had recorded it in my calender. Today, however, this post helped me realize that I had noted it down as your Birth and not Wedding Anniversary!!

The changes have now been made! :)


Ankit said...

Iyer Sir...

I have been reading your posts for some time.

This one really sends the message. I try to remember this most of the time but still at times I give up.

Also your post Looks good and feels good is awesome.

Nice Blog sir

Reggie Girl said...

That is a beautiful story iyer and something that we should all remember......take each sitation as a brand new life experience. I've found that "supposing" I know what is going to happen only leads to assuming the worst most of the time. How nice that Kumar proved your co-hort wrong and that you took it as an opportunity to grow.
Sorry I haven't commented lately. I have been reading thought. I've been really sick for quite a while and am just now starting to feel better.
Thanks so much for always being such a blessing. You're awesome and always make me smile :)

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Sandy said...

Interesting Read..Thanks for sharing hun

SGD said...

Thanks for sharing!
Yes....preconceived notions do tend to bias our behaviour in most cases!!!
We forget to isolate each day, each interaction and let the past influence our behaviour/decision...

Sriram said...

Valuable lesson!

Thanks for sharing.


Sridhar said...

I think I remember this incident which u had told me, as this has happened at our Penta factory. I agree we learn from many such small incidents, only that people dont share that freely.
Very nice narration,Iyer. Though not commenting regularly I read your posts regularly.

Pearl said...

A taste of humble pie from what sounds like a humble individual.
This man has done you -- and now us! -- a favor.
Well told!

ugich konitari said...

That was such a wonderful narration. It is very difficult to remember in a work environment that we are all similar folks with personal lives and worries. Sometimes authority blinds.

Everyone does not have this ability to admit to misjudging....and kudos to you for relating this incident , which is such a big lesson for all of us to remember.....

priya said...

Hello Sir. Good to see you back from your break. And what an awesome lesson you've shared with us.

Mistakes are what all of us make, but to learn the lesson beneath and remember that for life is what is truly our way of making up for them.

You're so right about looking at every incident afresh. It's a tough thing to do considering how our minds get conditioned to be prejudiced... but it's definitely not impossible!

I am reminded of a concept called Beginner's Mind here... where the focus is on looking at things with child-like inquisitiveness without any pre-formed notions!

Beautiful lesson learnt through you, Sir. Thanks for that.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

This was a truly necessary lesson that you highlighted many mistakes are committed, so many opportunities lost, simply because of our pre-conceived notions about people. Thank you very very much...

nsiyer said...

Sylvia, thanks for sharing. This lesson opened my eyes.

Cheers and thanks, Hopeless Romantic.

Kavi, your appreciation always inspires.Thanks.

Naperville Mom thanks for sharing your comments.

nsiyer said...

Thanks Priya. Yes our tendency to be cynical kills.

Thanks Debrah. Do unto others what you would like others do unto you is a great message from you. Thanks.

Sania, nice you are back. Further, want to see you back on your blog.

nsiyer said...

Thanks Ankit for your appreciation. Keep visitng and posting your valuable comments.

Reggie Girl, my boss used to mention " assume is ass u and me". We make an ass of ourselves. Get well soon and keep fit. Thanks for placing me on a pedestal with your sincere comments.

nsiyer said...

Hi Sandy , thanks for your comments. Thanks again for becoming a follower.Pl. keep visiting.

Hi SGD , thanks. Yes, preconceived notions deter our relationships and our growth.

Hi Sriram. Thanks for your comments.

Thanks Sridhar. I had mentioned this to you. Would like to see your comments on my blog mre often since I cherish them.

nsiyer said...

Thanks Pearl. Learnt a great lesson. Humble pie was a good usage.

Hello Ugich Konitari. Your insights have always been compelling for me to reflect. Authority blinds - well said.

Hi Priya. Beginner's mind - awesome connection. Thanks Priya.

Thanks Sucharita for your sincere appreciation.

TCGirivasan@Vasan, Puducherry said...

First of all, my advance Wishes for your wedding anniversary.

A good lesson for all individuals.

Many of us jump into conclusion, especially home makers. Whenever something is missing or could not be traced at home, we first suspect the maid and talk bad about her and convict her. But when we retrieve the lost things, we immediately repent for our action. We suspect the maids not because they have the habit but for the reason that they are needy.

nsiyer said...

Thanks Girivasan for the wishes. I liked your example of the maid and saw it absolutely relevant. All the best.

Anand said...

Nice one! It is so important to remember that what is required in each situation is a 'response', which looks at the situation as it happens and deals with it, instead of a 'reaction', which is looking at the 'present' through the filter of the past.

Thanks for sharing.

Aditi Mehta said...

Perceptions..this may distant the relationships..

Pradnya said...

Very True Sir.....

Sushree said...

u narrated this in class:)