I’ve been reading Srikumar Rao’s book, ‘Happiness at Work’, over the weekend. He argues that in the journey we take through life, we also take many ‘side trips’, each of which is a journey in itself. The choice of side trip is entirely up to us, it will be where we focus our attention for the length of the diversion. Rao suggests that before we embark on such trips, we ask ourselves a couple of questions:
Where is this journey taking me, and is it a place where I want to spend time? Is it a place that makes me happy to be alive, that brings out the best in me and inspires me in some way? Or is it a place that brings out hidden fears and insecurities and makes me more of a dissatisfied clod who whines about how the universe refuses to adapt to my whims?
By consciously thinking about where those side trips take us, we begin to make changes. Instead of mindlessly watching TV, reading trashy novels and newspapers, eating junk food, Rao argues, we begin to mindfully choose how we spend our time, and in the bigger scheme of things, how we spend our lives.
I’d never heard of Rao until last week when I heard him being interviewed for a BBC business programme. He teaches a course ‘Creativity and Personal Mastery’ at business schools around the world to MBA students and executives. As with all good teachers, his message on the surface sounds astonishingly simple. I guess it takes a long time to learn.