Leadership Lessons from Bhagavad Gita #34 – VUCA

Chapter 2, Verse 57

य: सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहस्तत्तत्प्राप्य शुभाशुभम् |
नाभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता || 57||

yaḥ sarvatrānabhisnehas tat tat prāpya śhubhāśhubham
nābhinandati na dveṣhṭi tasya prajñā pratiṣhṭhitā

yaḥwho; sarvatrain all conditions; anabhisnehaḥunattached; tatthat; tatthat; prāpyaattaining; śhubhagood; aśhubhamevil; naneither; abhinandatidelight in; nanor; dveṣhṭidejected by; tasyahis; prajñāknowledge; pratiṣhṭhitāis fixed

Translation – One who remains unattached under all conditions, and is neither delighted by good fortune nor dejected by tribulation, he is a sage with perfect knowledge.

The link to the page is – https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/57

My interpretation – For some years now there is the buzzword “VUCA”, an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity used to describe the world today.  What we fail to see in the fuzz created by the buzzword is the fact that the world has always been a VUCA world, no more than today and no less than today. Why else did the learned say that the only constant in the world is change. What does volatility mean ? It means the rate of change is high. Fallout of the change is huge uncertainty. What can be more complex than life’s journey, growing from one simple cell to a multi-faceted, multi-skilled human being who changes every minute ! And several aspects of every change is ambiguous – nothing is really clear except when you look backwards. Hindsight is always 20:20.

In this kind of world, how do you succeed? Bhagwan Krishna seems to have an answer for that – he says stay calm and equanimous under all circumstances, that’s the key to succeed in the VUCA world. Wait for the Tsunami to blow over or use prior information to safeguard yourself and your property – if you are caught in the midst of it without warning, staying calm helps you seek out options of escape. In a highly agitated state, there is little that you can decide correctly.

Why are SWAT teams and other emergency/disaster response teams trained continuously when there is no disaster? Its to stay calm as they deal with a high stress, emotionally charged environment. If they also get emotionally disturbed or stressed out, how can they help the victims? In all situations, staying calm and collected always helps you succeed.

No wonder the world is now moving towards meditation, the true medicine for the mind. Deep breath folks and chill.

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