The heartful strategist – part 4
In the last three articles of this series, RAVI VENKATESAN introduced the Heartful Strategist framework and walked through factors that limit our consciousness versus allowing it to expand. He explored the vicious and virtuous cycles of emotions that we struggle with, and also looked at how developing positive qualities of the heart and finding the right balance between opposites is the key to this expansion of consciousness. In this article we’ll dive deeper into how the same person at different stages in life seems to have made very different choices. We’ll explore what is behind the shift and what lessons we can draw from it.
Let’s take an example of choices made by one person at different stages in their life. Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, and is well known as one of the best business strategists. In his younger days he developed the reputation for being brilliant, but ruthless. Some of his brilliant strategic decisions included moving aggressively to become the operating system provider for IBM in the ’80s, with a non-exclusive agreement that allowed Microsoft to sell the operating system to other PC manufacturers. There was a dark side, though; his co-founder Paul Allen describes Gates as a ruthless schemer, in his memoirs, who demeaned employees and schemed to reduce his co-founder’s share in the company.
There are many other stories about how he stifled competition for Windows, to the extent that initially when the open source software movement came about, Gates and Microsoft were considered everything that this community was fighting against. So, what was the consequence? For years Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft Office became the default computing environment for everyone, blocking innovation that could have come from many sources.
Fast forward to recent years, Gates is one of the most renowned philanthropists and his foundation has tackled some of the most challenging problems in the world. He has also been an influential figure in convincing other billionaires to make generous contributions. It would not be an exaggeration to say that he is making a real difference to humanity at a global scale.
What changed? Some might argue that he got wiser as he got older, but there are plenty of examples of people staying ruthless, holding on to power, chasing money, well into their later years. Some say it was his marriage to Melinda Gates that brought a very different perspective to him. There is some truth to this if we study when his approach started changing. What was the real shift though?
In the last article we talked about opposite qualities of the heart and how they put us into circles of vicious and virtuous cycles. When we study an example like Bill Gates, we can see these operating. His early years had plenty of episodes where the drivers seemed to be Greed => Restlessness => Anger => Fear etc. His recent years have plenty of episodes where the drivers are the opposite. This can naturally happen when we open our hearts and listen to what signals we receive from within. However, is there a less abstract way to understand this and act on it? There is. And based on how it is applied, a seemingly negative quality can become positive and vice versa.
Envision your circle of influence. It includes you, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your community and all of humanity (See figure below).
Let’s now take those opposites that are qualities of the Heart. We can start with seemingly negative qualities like greed or desire. If you take desire, and apply it outwards – desiring more for your family instead of yourself, desiring more for your friends and colleagues – and you keep going till your desire is “wanting more for humanity,” this is now no longer a negative quality. Similarly, let’s take the other qualities one by one and apply the same approach:
Restlessness – be restless for improving the lot of humanity;
Anger – Be angry at all the unfairness and injustice in this world and use it as a constructive force to drive improvements; and
Fear– Use fear to be cautious to protect the interests of others.
Try to apply these ideas consciously over the next few weeks and see if they can shift your consciousness, your choices, the consequences, and the outcomes for your circle of influence.
Article by RAVI VENKATESAN
July 30, 2020
July 30, 2020
July 30, 2020