Contentment – 9C Framework
Contentment comes from many great and small acceptances in life.
In my life I have never regretted or felt guilty for any action of mine. I have always tried to adhere to values that I perceived as the basic foundation of human existence. In my earnest view, the four pillars which form the basis of human life are truth – being true to oneself and aligning with one’s own nature, values – imbibing certain moral values that have been established from time immemorial to avoid guilt, duties towards self, family and profession which is unique only to humans and non-violence in whatever activity that one may take up and this includes non-exploitation.
Whenever I took up a new activity, though I was not sure of the outcome or the value that it might add to me, I always had clarity of purpose for which I initiated the activity and about the process that I had to go through for its completion. Over a period of time, I realised that there was a sense of fulfilment on completion, especially the activities that I have been involved with during the last seventeen years. The main reason being I have not had any expectations for myself, except that I wanted to use my time and efforts for work that I considered would help the underprivileged.
Based on my experiences, I have developed a system which has helped me in deriving contentment from the activities that I had initiated.
The first five elements of the system can be categorized internal, as it is important for an individual to develop these elements to a satisfactory level before taking up activities that may involve the next three elements which can be categorized as external.
Calmness: One of the essential elements that one has to develop before taking up an activity is calmness. In the initial years of my life, I never had fear of examinations or participating in any extra-curricular activity. However, as I joined engineering course, with lot of new subjects, some of which were beyond my comprehension, sometimes fear engulfed my mind and I used to lose my sleep over it. I went through similar experience when I was given responsibility of developing systems for major projects at Indian Telephone Industries Limited (ITI) as soon as I joined them. Obviously when the mind is not calm, it is difficult to focus on any process.
Clarity: Though one may not have complete knowledge of the job that one takes up, it is important to have clarity of purpose to start with. Equally important is to learn and assimilate the correct process of doing though one may not be aware of the outcome.
Confidence: Calm mind and clarity of purpose together generally give confidence to take up an activity. I used to get saturated once I was confident of doing an activity. Normally, I used to sustain a new activity for three to five years depending on the need and situation.
Courage: Confidence need not naturally lead to courage which is essential to go ahead inspite of uncertainties. Typically it is true in case of starting an enterprise. When I look back, I have been a courageous person, having changed my domain of work several times; from a Research and Development engineer to an entrepreneur, then to a research scholar and now to a mentor / advisor apart from doing few service projects for the benefit of the community.
Commitment: Having taken a courageous decision to initiate a new activity, it is important to commit to the process till completion, though there can be obstacles. The level of commitment may vary depending on one’s capabilities, resources availability and situation. I have generally kept up my commitments, though I have faced health-related or resource related issues, not only in my professional work, but even in the case of delivering service projects.
Collaboration: Collaborating with like-minded persons always helps not only in sharing the work-load, but also in enabling learning of new knowledge / best practices. Most of my works are through collaboration, both during my entrepreneurial years and now when I am involved mostly with service projects. I always enjoy being part of a collective, be it family or profession, entertainment or service activities.
Coordination: Having collaborated with one or more persons or institutions it is important someone should take up the job of coordination among the collaborators to ensure progress of the activity undertaken. Invariably I have been doing this job for most of the collaborative projects that I have been involved, mainly to ensure completion of the project, rather than for the love of doing the job. This element obviously calls for good communication skills, both spoken and written apart from a great deal of patience.
Co-creation: Some of the recent research papers that I have worked with my academic associates lay emphasis on co-creation of value for the collaborating partners in the context of delivering health-care to the under privileged rural population. It is interesting to note that each of the collaborators, a Corporate, Non-Profit organisation and Service provider, while carefully ensure that they derive some value out of the collaboration, together create value to the common man who badly requires the health-care service, which is provided totally free of cost to him.
Contentment: Any activity that we plan well and implement effectively within the resources that are available, gives us a sense of contentment that is only experiential. If one can take up every day, only such activity, however small it may be, that gives him / her contentment, then it would possibly result in happiness. Like they say, ‘a contented heart is a calm sea in the midst of all storms’.
“Contentment makes poor men rich, discontentment makes rich men poor.” – Benjamin Franklin
October 01, 2019 | Ravi 24