Good Karma – Issue 48
Many of you know that I recently spent a week in
Port Macquarie at a yoga teacher training session,
during the week we practiced yoga, learned about
yoga, chanted, meditated, had our palm read and
ate vegan food. Although don’t tell anyone, I couldn’t
stomach the millet balls and spit them into my napkin.
When I returned to Sydney I got sick and had to
take two days off work, obviously the sacred vessel
that is my body craves preservatives to maintain
the fine balance I have become accustom to.
Since I don’t have aspirations to become a yoga teacher,
people wondered why I decided to do this and some
concluded it was the latent hippy in me coming
to the surface. Really I just wanted to have a new
experience, meet new people and learn more about
something I love. I thought I was unique, but later
learned I am one of a growing population following
the Potentialist movement.
According to Mark McCrindle
from the Future Laboratory
and McCrindle Research,
“Potentialists are the one in five
Australians who demonstrate a
clear ambition to live a rounder
life – one that mixes traditional
career success with a refreshing
appetite for new experiences.
They are looking to make more of what they have,
rather than always wanting more and display an
optimistic attitude that has previously been most
associated with Generation Y.” Having gotten even
older I never pass up a chance for vicarious youth, so
associating me with Gen Y is right up my alley.
Of course one of the reasons being a Potentialist is
so popular today is that we all learned to live a little
differently during the GFC, we worked fewer hours,
had less pay. Some poor sods had no pay at all.
We saw opportunities in having more time to do the
things we really enjoy and this has brought many to
an interesting fork in the road. Now that the economy
is picking up, there are a lot of people out there who
have no desire to go back to work, or at least not the
way they were working before the GFC came to town.
They are now used to eating baked bean sandwiches,
shopping at Kmart and not waxing and see no reason
to return to the excesses of the past.
The conundrum for employers, who have been
anxiously awaiting the full up -swing of the economy
to erase the nasty red marks they have on their
books, is they want to return to business as usual
ASAP, but their employees are not really interested.
Such is the cycle of boom and bust.
There is a recession, people find other things to do,
times get busy again and there is no one left to do
the work, those left behind get overworked so when
the next recession hits they figure there has got to be
a better way.
In the 1992 recession architecture and design
companies didn’t give a squat about losing people
because they figured there would be a healthy supply
of workers when the economy returned to normal.
What they were shocked to discover was mid level
architects and designers got sick of being laid off and
left the profession to find more suitable, predictable
work like driving taxi’s and selling bricks.
When the economy picked up the profession was left with very
senior people and newbies to deliver projects. This is
partly why companies today have approached their
recession resourcing with a bit more intelligence and
forethought; exploring reduced salaries and shorter
workweeks rather than lose the people they have not
only nurtured, but know they will need.
Thinking about these cycles of boom and bust
brings me back to the topic of yoga, you may think
this tangent is a bit far removed, but hang with
me. Specifically I would like to bring the concept of
karma into this discussion. Karma in Sanskrit means
act or deed, in the ancient Indian philosophies of
the Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sikhs, Karma is more
broadly defined as the universal principle of cause
and effect, action and reaction that governs all life.
According to Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda,
we produce Karma in four ways:
_through actions that we perform ourselves
_through actions others do under our instructions
Karma is not fate, for humans act with free will
creating their own destiny. According to the Vedas,
the oldest scripture of Hinduism, if we sow goodness,
we will reap goodness; if we sow evil, we will reap
evil. To believers, all living things, from whales, to
humans, to the sweet cockroaches we have here in
Sydney, have souls and all souls are equal.
If you go stomping your way through the average day, you’re
bound to end up injuring something. And if you injure
something, you injure everything, including yourself.This is how karma works. So it pays to move with care.
So I see the way we have approached this recession
as one that will produce better results, because
we did better deeds, had greater compassion and
thought ahead to what was going to happen next. Of
course to get back on our feet again we will not be
able to rely solely on good corporate karma, we will
need luck as well and according to Richard Wiseman
it is possible to make your own luck.
Wiseman heads the psychology research department
at the University of Hertfordshire in England.
Wiseman has been studying luck for the past eight
years and has done thousands of interviews and
experiments to determine what makes some people
lucky and others not. He believes it isn’t due to
karma, or coincidence. Instead, lucky folks, without
even knowing it, think and behave in ways that create
good fortune in their lives. If you’re interested you can
attend Wisemans Luck School to learn techniques to
improve your luck.
Some of the techniques you might learn. First
be open to possibilities and willing to take risks,
change your perspective so you can identify those
possibilities that are right in front of you. Lucky
people see things differently and listen to their gut
feelings and intuition, also a lucky person will work
on having the headspace to interpret those feelings.
One of the ways a person can get this headspace
is through meditation and yoga! A lucky person
expects luck to happen, so it becomes a self fulfilling
prophecy. Finally, a lucky person will change bad luck
to good by focusing on what is good rather than what
is bad and identifying clever ways to turn the tables
to be more favorable for them.
Over the years I have thought a lot about business
karma and have a philosophy that what goes around
comes around. I believe if we do right by others someone will do
right by us. Throughout my career I have observed
that people who are jerks eventually fall on their
own sword, there is no need to make a voodoo doll
or wish bad ju ju on them, it just happens. It’s the
circle of life. Of course sometimes it takes a while,
but eventually people who are jerks get it in the end
and when that happens I feel a sense of satisfaction
knowing there is an order to the world.
Of course bad
things do happen to good people, never the less,
when I see evidence of the cause and effect of bad
karma it makes me happy. For example in the past year we worked with
someone who was dismissive, inconsiderate and in
my mind lacked professional integrity. Guess what,
they got fired and I say yahoo – its karma.
Last year I wrote a Rambling called Mean People Suck, even
though it took a while, the person who inspired that
article also lost their job, again I say yahoo – its
karma. Then there are the plethora of people who
find it is necessary to scare or intimidate the pants
off others to get results, or make themselves feel
important by diminishing someone else worth. For all
of them I live in hope that they too will get theirs and I
will shout to the heavens YAHOO IT’S KARMA.
As luck would have it, you can change your luck and
since you are all persons with free will, you can also
change your karma by doing the right things at the
right time. Through positive actions, pure thoughts,
prayer, mantra and meditation, we can resolve the
influence of the karma in present life and change
our destiny for the better. As humans, we have the
opportunity to speed up our spiritual progress with
practice of good Karma, we only produce bad karma
because we lack knowledge and clarity e.g. we are
Since we are ending one year and will begin another soon, I thought the timing was right to consider what we might do right now to make the next year even better. We can change our luck and karma too. A good start would be basic human consideration: a thank you to someone who has
helped even if it is their job, a nod of credit where it is due and
respectfulness to everyone not just those more senior.
There is no reason to be a jerk particularly those we
work with. I know it is very easy to unintentionally hurt
someone’s feelings with no malice or ill will intended,
but having an awareness of others can at the very
least give us a better understanding of the impact we
have when we do transgress into jerkdom.
Albert Einstein said “Our task must be to free
ourselves from this prison of selfishness by widening
our circle of compassion to embrace all living
creatures and the whole nature of its beauty.
Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the
motivation for such achievements is in itself part of
Cotter, Holland; Compassionate Masters of the
Universe; The New York Times, November 13, 2009
Des Jardins, Jory; Strong Business Growth Indicators:
Revenue, Retention, and Karma; Fast Company
Magazine, January 2, 2007
Lee, David; Lucky Charms Might Be the Reason Why
Some People Have All the Luck , Fast Company
Magazine, August 3, 2009
Pink, Daniel H; How to Make Your Own Luck, Fast
Company Magazine, December 19, 2007
Smith, Fiona, One Job or Two and Have Time for
Both, The Australian Financial Review, November 24,