Ways to improve what you inherit

The way to improve what you inherit

Every generation benefits from the struggle of the previous one. However, thanks to the human mindset, we always tend to look for what was built wrong, rather than what was built right.
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An entrepreneur was once told by his mentor, “When you start a business, you will have to go through a lot of struggles. The success you get finally will be enjoyed by your children, not you!”

Every generation benefits from the struggle of the previous one. However, thanks to the human mindset, we always tend to look for what was built wrong, rather than what was built right. This is where Chanakya comes in: “In the case of inherited territory, he should cover up the father’s defects and display his virtues” (13.5.23).

Even Swami Chinmayananda had similar advice: “Every generation has got two responsibilities—to correct the mistakes of the past and create something for the future.” But how do we apply this in our careers and family lives?

Look at the positives

When we inherit something—like a car—we immediately think, “Oh, what an old car. I wish I could get a new one.” But train your minds to look at the positives. “So what? It’s better than having no car.”

Similarly, when you get an old computer to use as soon as you join a new office, thank yourself—at least, there is a computer for you to start working on. These steps will tune your mind to look at the bright side of what our elders provided without requiring any of our efforts.

Understand what is missing

With their limited vision or resources, our elders gave whatever you have. Surely they must have wanted to give something better, but their conditions must have been different. They missed the luxury that our generation is having with ease.

If, by chance, our seniors did a mistake in their short-sightedness, try to understand the reason. Instead of condemning, empathise. Put yourself in their shoes. Even in your company, you should study what is missing instead of blaming the management. Try to understand the reason behind present circumstances and then try to improve them.

Create something new

Now, be the change you are seeking. If something is not available, create it yourself. Put some self-effort and do the needful yourself. If you find that systems in your firm are not updated, study the technology yourself and apply it yourself. Basically, you should convert your blaming mindset into a thankful one.

A young boy once told his father, “Your generation doesn’t understand anything. You did not have mobiles, computers or Internet.” The dad replied, “Yes, it’s true. So our generation created the mobiles and computers for you to use. Now let’s see what you will create for your children!”

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.

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