source: Pictorial analogy for mind, body, intelligence, senses and soul as per Bhagavad Gita

In business or in life, a lot of your success depends on the people whom you work with. Either they can be massive amplifiers to what you are doing or they can be massive blockers to your path of goal resulting in a lot of your time, resources and mental peace wasted in dealing with people who come as blockers in your path.

So, the question I am trying to address here is, how to ensure we choose the right people to work with? This question of course is not as simple as it seems and there is no text book solution to answer it. One way (or the most popular way) to answer this question is to collect wisdom from people who have already been in situations or problems that might be in hand for you. However, even this is only a preliminary solution as views of “experts” will have their limitations and it comes down to you “the individual” making a decision when to take that leap of faith to work (or not work) with somebody. Now, in this blog I want to quickly talk about another perspective to evaluate people that might not be discussed in the popular media and I would like to qualify this perspective as the “secrets of timeless wisdom”. So, here we go…

Let me first give you an architecture diagram of who we are, what we are made of as human beings, are we just a result of all the experiences that we had in this life? OR are we something more than who we think we are? OR the people we work with? Where does our abilities come from and where does abilities of other people come from? Why are we the way we are? Why is someone else the way they are? AND how can we reconcile this situation so that we can co-create something mutually useful or profitable.

Senses-Mind-Intelligence-Body-Soul Architecture

Starting from the exterior and going inwards, we all as human beings have a highly functional body which is basically composed of 5 major senses that help us perceive external environment — namely eyes, ears, nose tongue and skin. Just like an input device in a computer like the keyboard, information that goes into a human being comes from these five senses. This information get’s analyzed in our brain which according to timeless wisdom of Bhagavd Gita is broadly composed of two elements — the Mind and the Intelligence. What is the Mind component of brain? Quick answer — it works like a ROM in computer that makes quick decisions based on the “NOW”. What is the Intelligence component of brain? Quick answer — it works like a repository of all facts, experiences, information gathered based on a time frame of not just THIS life but many millions of life terms before this (Yes! without going into much detail, I am introducing the concept of reincarnation here which I understand can be a subject of contention for many but I am skipping that topic for now. Happy to address in Q&A or future blogs). Finally there is one more element that is at the core of all this activity and which really defines who we are and that’s our Soul (again, I am skipping a detailed corroboration on subject of Soul which I suggest we can treat as an axiom if you are a reader who is new or opposed to this concept). So, that’s the broad architecture of a human being broken into components — Senses, Body, Mind, Intelligence and Soul.

Moving on, let’s try to understand how the mechanics of these components work as illustrated by the picture above. The five senses represent the 5 horses which each have their own mind and have a tendency to operate independently out of their own interest, the 5 horses are controlled through the reins which is the representation of our Mind, the reins in turn are controlled by the charioteer which is the representation of our Intelligence, the chariot represents the body and finally the actual passenger is the Soul. So, given this representation, we can now try to understand a lot about ourselves and people around us.

Let’s begin with today’s world of consumerism chaos and then later on address what should be the ideal scenario. In todays, scenario “distraction” is the devil that in general affecting everyone and the reason for this distraction fundamentally lies in the senses, mind and intelligence. Ideally speaking, the passenger in the chariot should be able to advise the charioteer about the direction of travel and the charioteer in turn should be able to control the horses with the help of the reins. However, in today’s condition it almost seems like the intelligence (i.e charioteer) decides to do what it wants to do and sometimes the intelligence is over-powered by the senses (i.e horses) through their desire to do what they want do and the passenger (soul) is just a mute spectator while being taken in directions that he/she doesn’t want to go. In real life situations, talk about why people cheat in relationships even though they have a lovely marriage (Eg:- Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods cheating on their spouses), why do we see fraud in top companies like Enron (Or the housing bubble of 2008 due to financial de-regulations) wherein greed of a few destroys the hopes and lives of many. And we are not talking about greed or lust of someone who is impoverished in wealth or healthy sexual relationship but it’s the very people who have plenty of options in life find themselves in a “distracted” scenario. The reason for this situation is because of the senses, mind and intelligence having way more power than opinion of the soul. We’ll get to how to resolve this situation in a minute once we internalize the fact that OUR senses, mind and intelligence are generally in control as to where the individual goes or how the individual behaves than other way around. In other words, our own sense, mind and intelligence can be way more powerful than our ability to control them! One needs to understand and respect this first before being strategic about how to solve this problem.

Change is the only constant but often times HARD

Here comes one of the important points we should imbibe from the above analogy and that is true forchoosing the right people to work with us. Although, we as humans have unlimited capability to learn new things or “change”, very rarely can we reliably expect that from a person (or oneself for that matter) unless an extreme amount of dedication and will power is committed towards it. Example:- Why are some people prone to addictions and some people not, no matter how much they indulge they are not pushed into addictions. And why do some people, even though they badly want to come out of an addiction, find it almost impossible to do so or probably will never come out of it. Now, you may have observed people superficially address this problem by saying things like — “One needs to have more will power”, “One need to be smart” blah blah. Don’t dis-agree with any of those however there is inherent limitations to that advice if we discount the Mind-Body-Intelligence-Sense-Soul framework wherein lies the fundamental blue print of a person. The effect of this fundamental blue print entails every individual to have a limited scope of skills, values, will power and abilities. To give you a simple analogy, no matter how much motivation videos or songs you play to a fish, you cannot expect the fish to survive outside water as it’s physical design limits the fish to be a sea creature. Similarly, our inherent psycho-physical design have limitations towards behavior changes, proclivities, addictions etc. Again, I am not trying to suggest there cannot be a corrective program to fix this for better. All that I am suggesting is the corrective programs not necessarily works for everyone, all the time. Every individual’s psycho-physical nature is different. On the positive if an individual finds himself/herself is a work situation that fits their psycho-physical, we often times see them shine way brighter than most other people in their category. Discovering your own psycho-physical nature can really help you to lead a much more happier life while you also try to choose the right associations with people who’s inherent natures matches with your expectations of them.

Zooming out of this analogy now, it’s important for you to choose people based on psycho-physical natures in terms of partners in business or life. It is ok to expect a 10% improvement in skills, attitude from a person if relevant training is provided however expecting a dramatic improvement from any person is a pathway to dis-appointment to you and other individual as well. In conclusion, choose wisely before you associate with the people you want to work with and by all means if things don’t work out, deleverage yourself or the other person from the situation as soon as possible. After all, it might be actually help the other individuals outside of you to seek something that is close to their soul and of course it helps you conserve vital resources (time or money) as well. For your benefit, I suggest reading the following book to understand psychology of people in work environment and some quick tools you can deploy to make sure you can screen the right people to work with you. Hope this blog helped you, let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments.

An excellent book for hire managers, CEO’s to hire right people for your organization (source)