Toying with a Mess
Once a little boy, age 4, was told to pick up some toys strewn on the floor. He merrily obliged, believing that he was helping his parents keep the house in order. A moment later, the younger brother, age 2, came along and emptied the container of toys onto the floor. This time, the elder kid saw it and despite coaxing by the parents, refused to pick up the toys. Perhaps, the boy understood that there was no real purpose behind what he did if his brother continued to empty the container every time the toys were put back.
The little boys are all big now, and can be just about anyone amongst us. How often many of us feel disillusioned while pursuing seemingly meaningless goals?! The trigger might be a bad-attitude manager, an unappreciative-POC at client end, an inefficient-teammate, and so on—the external environment always seems busy scheming on ways to negate our sincere efforts to inconsequential value.
So what’s the solution? Maybe the elder brother has to do more than putting toys back in the right place! Perhaps he has to adorn the role of a true ‘big’ brother dissuading his bratty sibling until he stops messing up the environment! Expand his role definition to include molding his manager’s bad attitude with his positive vibes, winning over the heart of his unappreciative customer contact, befriending and mentoring his inefficient team mate, among other things?! Formidable, no doubt, but very much plausible goals!
And what happens when the younger brother still refuses to grow up? Well, a little bit of philosophical approach never hurt a good pragmatic professional. If all the efforts of the elder brother go into countering negativities with net marginal improvement in the ecosystem, imagine how much messier the environment can get if the corporate world was full of demotivated ‘big’ brothers while the bratty younger ones had a field day?