One of the many derisory phrases that are perennially in vogue to describe an MBA education borrows from this sentence here, “an over-priced, extended self-help therapy session that promotes narcissistic over-indulgence and development of an innate ability to pander to the most recent fad”. Indeed, if you need any leading indicator of which business sector is on the top of a bubble, you need look no further than the industry the top percentile of MBA students end up vying for an entry to. Suffice it to say, that when I entered the “haloed” institutions of education myself, I arrived with holding onto a grain of salt in my hands. Possibly, an Indian education had already instilled in me an inherent dislike for touchy, sentimental and intangible stuff that lacked a defined boundary. What’s also possible is that I felt myself disconnected from this world because I found it hard to understand – that fear of the unknown when you tie yourself to the models that you have built within yourself and try to extrapolate everything using that generic model in your hand.
Yes, it could have been a multitude of factors all leading up to one result. My intense dislike for anything that purported to transform my life or uplift me or define my living from this point forward, or something to the effect. So when I hit up on this concept of “Mindful Leadership”, I had already made up my mind about what this terminology meant and how the huge capitalist machine of America had once again built up an entire field of business from scratch. No, the passages that follow doesn’t necessarily tell you about how I somersaulted on this pre-conceived notion of mine, or how immensely “transforming” the experience of learning mindfulness was for me. Those four-day corporate retreats would undoubtedly be super-fun though what with mental space, inner reflection and purposeful pauses determining the flow of things. But no, nothing of the sort. While it may become partially so (and I will only know that in times to come), this outpouring is more of a realization that my biases are so intricately in-built within myself that unbeknownst to me, they play a huge role in my daily life. Much as my realization that even before stepping foot into the class-room, I knew it was going to be a waste of time.
One of the many things I struggle with is to determine what constitutes as a waste of time here and what doesn’t. I am so abhorred of the term FOMO that I have a hard time talking about it. No matter how much truth it rings in my face, I continue to deny it with all my might. What then, would I call this persistent nagging feeling that I am missing out on so much learning, so much fun and so much bonding? But what would be more important to look deeper into is how this feeling manifests itself in the manner with which I approach the things that I do end up doing. Would it be those meaningless wanderings your mind does take during a particularly excruciating class of Operations Management? Or would it be those silent subway rides back to my apartment when I notice a humongous throng of people leading their lives in their own small way, mending to their tasks in their own peculiar way and thinking their thoughts in their own narcissistic wave? I don’t know and I honestly am in no position to tell. What I do know is, that in theory, and strictly in theory, the phenomena of mindfulness does indeed make sense. “Being in the now and the present, to be responsive and not reactive to a situation, to parrot focus, creativity, clarity, and compassion, whatever that means.” ~ you can’t possibly deny them, but when you think about them, they do seem pedestrian in their scope because you would assume they are common knowledge. Maybe the act of bringing these aspects to the fore is what the movement is all about. (And yes, there indeed is a movement)
Which brings me to creativity. But that deserves a mention on its own altogether. In another post, me willing.