It is extremely important for us to introspect in order to achieve happiness
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Today, we begin a journey — a journey of self-discovery. The aim of this journey is to understand ourselves, to look deep within, and to harness our untapped potential.
Let us first realise that the basic core of every human being is the same. We all have the same power and strength within us. But we continue to remain unaware of this unimaginable power and strength. We can create wonders by tapping this potential; but for that, we first need to discover ourselves.
Unless we learn about ourselves, it is impossible for us to understand the world. You should first know your inner Self. Introspection is a spiritual exercise, and a continuous process. The moment we stop introspecting or looking within, we begin to falter.
The story of Zee TV is a case in point. From the day Zee TV was launched in 1992, it witnessed a meteoric rise until 1999-2000. We soared because our introspection guided us. We were looking at ourselves and learning from ourselves. But the moment we stopped introspecting and started looking beyond ourselves, we began to slump and plunge into near-oblivion.
Today, we spend sleepless nights in our quest for Television Rating Points (TRPs). Our hard work does not yield higher TRPs. So, what do we do? We look towards the outside world for solutions. We rope in Shah Rukh Khan, hoping that he will work his magic with the TRPs. All our actions are aimed at increasing the TRPs. It is a classic case of chasing something which only gets farther and farther away from you, the more you chase it.
What happens when you chase a girl? She keeps running away from you. In the process of chasing her you are only distancing her from you. The more your chase her, the more elusive she becomes. This is a universal phenomenon.
Instead of chasing TRPs, our objective should be to make the viewer happy. Unfortunately, we are guided by the selfish motive of obtaining high TRPs so that we can hike ad rates and increase profits. The moment you eliminate this selfishness, your whole thought process will change.
Our priority should be to service our viewers. It does not matter if you have only two per cent of the viewership. Make them happy. This two per cent will increase to 20 per cent and then to 80 per cent.
Do not be bogged down by what your competitor does. Surely, there is no wisdom in blindly copying our competitors. Only when you stop being a copy-cat, will you start thinking innovatively. Only then will you stretch your creativity and come up with an original idea.
To begin with, let us at least start listening to the viewers. That is what made Zee successful. The moment we stopped listening to our viewers, the letters we received from them dropped from a peak of 400,000 a week, to just 20,000. Now, we are once again witnessing an upward swing because we listen to the viewers and look inward for inspiration.
These developments have compelled me to reflect on the beginning of my business career and the knowledge that I had gained from my grandfather. Whenever I was not attending school, I accompanied my grandfather who involved himself in striking matrimonial alliances as a hobby. At every house that we visited, he would make all the women folk stand alongside the bride. In case, he found any woman prettier than the bride, he would advise her not to be present when the groom visited the house. This ensured that the groom was not distracted from the bride towards a prettier woman.
I would marvel at his experience and wisdom. Such “native wisdom” is within all of us, but we choose to ignore it and look for answers elsewhere.
We have a right to be happy
Over the years, I have realised that introspection helps us to achieve both spiritual and materialistic goals. When I correlated the different lessons of my childhood, it became clear to me that unless we seek ourselves, we cannot understand our own personality… we cannot develop ourselves… we cannot be successful in our business… we cannot succeed in our relationships… The end result is that we cannot be happy. And an unhappy man creates unhappiness all around.
All of us have a right to be happy. As Sant Kabir said, there is nothing wrong in fulfilling our legitimate desires. For, as long as my legitimate desires are not fulfilled, I will not be a happy man. At the same time, I will not be a happy man if my desires are fulfilled beyond legitimate levels. Thus, it is important to strike a fine balance in life. But our ignorance prevents us from achieving this.
We should remain open to ideas and never allow ignorance to cloud our thoughts. For instance, when we started the Essel Group, we knew nothing other than trading in food grains, which was our family business. We did not know about plastics, packaging or amusement parks, leave alone satellites. When we were mulling over avenues to provide wholesome entertainment to the people, a friend suggested that the answer lay in satellite television. My instant reaction was: “What do you mean by a satellite?” The rest is history.
Ignorance creates cobwebs in our minds. It makes things look difficult. The moment we open our minds, even the most complicated concepts become simple. They begin to look so simple that you wonder: “Why did I not think of this earlier?” Nothing is unattainable as long as you do not have a mental block.
Besides the lessons that I learnt from my grandfather, I have during the past one year met several spiritual leaders who have guided me in the path of self-realisation. Today, I am at peace with myself. People say I look much better these days.
It is my intention to share this knowledge and learning with my extended family of 9,000 Esselites. Let us learn from the experiences of one another on how to improve our lives. The underlying factor, of course, is that we should be happy in the first place. Only then can we make everybody else happy.
The essence of this exercise is to help you understand yourselves. Instead of a third person pointing out your strengths and weaknesses, you should develop techniques so that you can assess yourself and improve your personality. This needs practice. Just as you need continuous practice to become a good musician, you will need practice to perfect the technique of understanding yourself.
Developing such techniques is important because human resource experts and management gurus offer solutions which are universal in nature. These solutions are not tailor-made for each individual. Thus, they do not address individual needs.
Four kinds of beings
There are four kinds of beings in this world: minerals, plants, animals and humans. Of the first three, only animals are endowed with a limited choice of decision. They normally operate as per the basic nature with which they are born. A lion will never turn herbivorous while a cow will not turn carnivorous.
But humans have an unlimited choice of decision. This is why you are an individual. This calls for acknowledging the individual character of every person. Ultimately, we should treat a human being individually instead of advancing a universal solution to everybody’s problem. This can be achieved only by understanding ourselves. The solution lies within us.
Now we follow a mechanical way of life. Often, our actions are guided by others. We are content with aping our peers, bosses or parents. We have perfected the art of herd mentality in both our personal and professional lives. This lack of reasoning leads to stress and strain.
Enjoy what you do
Our actions should bring us pleasure. We should find joy in what we do. But today, we have adopted the route of escapism. We would rather escape certain actions to avoid bad results. In the process, we are searching for peace in non-action and escapism.
This is because we are ignorant of our own potential. Once we understand the techniques of living, we will learn the dynamics of finding pleasure in our actions, instead of resorting to escapism. There is nothing wrong in thinking about ourselves first. That does not mean you are selfish. You should only ensure that your actions are selfless.
After one year of going through this spiritual exercise, it does not mean that I do not want the market capitalisation of the Group to go up to 50 billion dollars. But if that does not happen, I will not be unduly perturbed about it.
The key to happiness is to take success in your stride and not be depressed when you fail. Just keep doing your karma.