Two Tenets of Ownership : Custodian , Possession

  • I always thought Ownership — means OWNERSHIP , complete commitment ! Like a Mother to a child or a driven person to a cause
  • However my understanding matured & expanded through what I observed around me & learnt through them . It gave me so much clarity on two extremes of shades of ‘ Ownership ‘ as is being understood & practiced – I take it as my obligation to bring to you the same enlightenment
  • I have now come to realise that in practice there are two tenets of Ownership ( one intended & one mistaken ) which form the two extreme ends of an ‘ Ownership Spectrum ‘
    • One is the “ Custodianship “ end – which is what is implicit in the concept of Ownership , &
    • The other end is “ Possession “ which is a mistaken notion of ownership
  • Custodianship
    • This is the true & larger meaning of ownership
    • It invokes a sense of belonging & is about caring about what you ‘ own’ – be it a cause , your child , your country , your community
    • It generally involves a ‘ surrender to a cause ‘ ; a selfless disposition to what you are doing / intend to do . The focus is not on self , but on the cause – which is always bigger than yourself
    • It is about focus & uncontaminated attention . It is about nurturing . You will do everything possible to ensure safety & fulfilment of the cause — often unprompted !
    • The purpose & commitment here is long sustained & approach is ‘ relationship ‘ oriented
  • Possession
    • This is grown through popular / oversimplified misconception of meaning of ownership
    • It is about ‘ owning ‘ something as your ‘ possession — as your ‘ property ‘ … This can go beyond material possessions ; can even extend to your own child !
    • Quite contrary to a ‘ surrender ‘ ; it is about ‘ subservience ‘ – about clearly establishing hierarchy & concept of supremacy / subjugation .
    • The focus is clearly & unquestionably on self , everything else is subsidiary to self interest . It is fueled by Ego & smacks of arrogance .
    • Contrary to concept of attention and care ; it is about ‘ exploitation ‘ — it is like “ I have every right over something , because I paid for it “ ( typical feel of a “ Malik “ , in Hindi )
    • The approach is logically , very transactional and opportunistic .
  • Clarity , Insight & Perspective is what I bring to the table , always – so in this case . As a committed & experienced Coach I felt it my obligation to bring you this clarity , with which you can choose the path you want to take on the ‘ Ownership Spectrum ‘ , since you take accountability for your decision ; just that you are well informed & well equipped to make a careful choice
  • I have made my choice ; for me ‘ Custodianship ‘ is not just the better & more inclusive concept ; it is the ONLY way of taking and exercising Ownership ! You need to decide for yourself , independently – It is Your Choice , because it is Your Life !

Disappointment is less disappointing than Frustration

  • Disappointment , Frustration are very commonly used words ; especially in the context of Performance management or Stress management . Probably we use them interchangeably without much bothering to think what does each mean & if they both mean the same
  • Before I do my ‘ sense making ‘ on this , I searched dictionary , to find following :
    • Disappointment : “ Sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations.”
    • Frustration : “ The feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.”
  • In the least I note from dictionary that while Disappointment is to do with ‘ non fulfillment ‘ ; Frustration is to do more with one ‘ inability ‘ to achieve something .While I agree with this ‘ reading between the lines ‘ ; to me there is a vast and fundamental difference between what is disappointment & what is frustration . Here is my take , my Sense making
  • Disappointment v/s Frustration
    • I agree that disappointment is about not achieving something ( result / outcome ) ; frustration is about one’s inability to be able to achieve
    • Disappointment is related to an event , a transaction , whereas frustration is about a person’s state of mind
    • Therefore disappointment is a transient phenomenon , frustration is likely to be relatively permanent state of mind . If we ( rather loosely ) use analogy of Change & Transformation , where a change is transient & reversible ; transformation is permanent – similarly in case of disappointment , frustration
    • They are also likely to be ‘ sequential ‘ … it probably takes a series of disappointing events to reach a state of frustration
    • Consequentially disappointment ( hopefully ) leads to action ; frustration is a dead end ; it leads to inaction
    • You can overcome stage of disappointment ; frustration turns you into permanent ‘ negativity ‘ … you tend to speak only negatively & link everything to your frustration .
  • Reason for me to seek this clarity for you is not just for your Knowledge . If you recollect my earlier post on KURI …. I want you / more & more people get a better understanding of this fundamental difference between the two terms & importantly reach your ‘ Realisation ‘ , which will prompt an action .
    • Understanding here is that Disappointment & Frustration are two fundamentally different states ; one takes you to action , other to inaction
    • Realisation from this can be : Since Frustration is sequential to Disappointment & it is a Dead-End , once reached that — it is almost non reversible ‘ disability ‘ of mind ; one needs to be alert at any Disappointment to address it quickly – not let it simmer & set into Frustration , which will be a  Point of NO Return ; hence one should proactively never allow him/ herself to reach that stage
  • Before I sign off , I thus urge you to not just sit on this useful Knowledge , but pick your Realisation & move into Action , so that you never become frustrated in life !

“OWNERSHIP ” as distinct from ” SINCERITY “

Right person ‘ profile

To me , selection of a ( right )team member is a fundamental process for Business Success — it is actually not a recruitment , but a Quality Control process . To me ‘ Right ‘ person is by his / her Constitution and not by education or knowledge / skills . Essence of my experiential learning in this subject has helped me distill 5 distinct attributes of a ‘ RIGHT ‘ person in our business context :

– Independent thinking

– Ownership

– Self management

– Learning ability

– Problem solving ability

While entire thought process behind ‘ Right selection ‘  ( including knowing Horses from Donkeys ) deserves to be a separate topic & on which I promise to share with you my enlightenment next month , special purpose behind this note is to awaken you to the distinct difference between Ownership & Sincerity .

Many take these two words / attributes ( Sincerity , Ownership ) as interchangeable — they do not know / understand the difference . Many of the rest of us probably subliminally know some difference but are either confused or can not articulate well , the way I will now lay out for you

It started with , when I asked my team members to self rate on the 5 ‘ Right ‘ person attributes I listed above . I saw many of my team members rating themselves 4 out of 5 on Ownership , which got me thinking …. It was clear to me that they were no where even 3 on this … yet as individuals , they have been dedicated , sincere , intelligent & interested — then where is this ( my ) perceived discordance coming from … when I reflected deeper , I realised that they were probably rating themselves on ‘ Sincerity ‘ , when thinking of ‘ Ownership ‘ ( I could understand & agree if they rated themselves 4/5 on Sincerity ) , when I interacted with them on my dilemma my understanding was confirmed . That prompted me to give them clarity on the difference between the two concepts , I hope it will help you too .

# Sincerity is an attribute ( inside )of a person , Ownership exhibits ( externally ) in outcome . Sincerity is about what you are ; Ownership is about what you achieve

# Sincerity is to do with Efforts ; Ownership is about Result

# Effectively , Maids are Sincere ; Mothers are Owners  !

” Maid to Mother ” is yet another of my proprietary , IP registered program about Organisational Transformation ….. but about that , some other time … In the meanwhile & till I connect back with you next month with more on Right person selection ; please share your views / perspectives on if & how different you feel is Ownership from Sincerity .

Success of Democracy is in knowing where it ends

  • Success of Democracy is in knowing where it ends  
    • I do not know whether people who swear by Democracy , understand what it means . Let’s see how
      • For most it is unidirectional
        • They understand it only in one way … from ‘ me to you ‘ & not from ‘ you to me ‘ . What it means is that I have full freedom to say & do what I like . You accepting my freedom is incumbent on you ( you don’t have a choice ) . If you don’t , you are intolerant . However the reverse is not true ; Under your ‘ freedom of expression ‘ you can not say anything that ‘hurts ‘ me . Interestingly in today’s context with growing impatience & politically nurtured ‘ sensitivities ‘ … there is practically very little that you can say (except praising me ) that does not have a chance to hurt me . Hence it is not pure democracy …. It is  “ My Democracy “  v/s “ Your Democracy “  which I propose to promote and protect
      • For most it is unilateral
        • Me declaring or claiming my freedom is the only perquisite for me to exercise it . It does not require your consent , let alone comfort . My freedom is about how I feel , not about how you feel .
        • The problem is that this is possible only if each individual is living on isolated islands ( in their own world ) where there is no interdependence . However in today’s ‘ connected’ world where , what I do or do not do , impacts you ; it is not possible to unilaterally ‘ declare ‘ or exercise my freedom , without thinking of the repercussions of this on my ecosystem  . It is like if I have a sick person at home , I may not exercise my freedom of playing out music loud . Then it is not an academic debate whether I have the right , more important is me choosing not to exercise my right if it encroaches on someone else’s right to peace .
      • For most it is Absolute & unlimited
        • Democracy or freedom is not absolute … anywhere . Each country , each community has rules , code of conduct and there is a rule of law . There are legally enforceable & morally acceptable restrictions ; e.g. I can not have a freedom to kill some one , even if I want to … the law prohibits that . So is the case of a Code of conduct or Rules or Policies … on one hand they restrict individual freedom ; but they are created with a larger purpose ; it overall optimizes harmony & advantage for everyone .
        • This is necessary , because my freedom need not constrain someone else’s freedom . Traffic signal is a great example . Should a free individual not have freedom to walk or drive vehicle in any part of a free country … off course one should . But just imagine chaos & damage / loss such unrestricted freedom will cause at a traffic junction . Putting traffic signal there is constriction of my right to move freely ; but I must understand that this restriction maximizes advantage for all , on a larger scale .
        • Hence freedom is never absolute , it comes with a framework , rules dos/donts . For best exercising freedom , it needs to be channelized . Exactly as channelizing flow of a forceful river to convert it into positive energy …. Unrestricted river force will cause devastation
      • For most it is Subjective
        • Once we set a framework to freedom , everyone should have equal & transparent access to exercising it . Then there should not be ifs & buts . And there can not be two / different ways for two people to exercise the freedom . There can’t be different interpretations , based on convenience … there cant be different rules for different individuals . Restrictions are not harmful as is the discrimination .
        • Here is where most make mistake ; some knowingly ( exploitation ) & some unknowingly ( lack of awareness ) . Each ‘ interprets ‘ the way it suits her/him & then ‘ explain ‘ how that is the right way . This is not freedom / democracy . This is hypocrisy & chaos .


    • Democracy or freedom is not absolute – exercising it has rules / regulations , framework , it has restrictions in larger interest . Hence it is not easy . It is a responsibility as much as it is a privilege . It involves pain & patience in the short term for a long term enduring advantage . And it is not in isolation … it is my freedom in the context of equal freedom for my fellow citizens . In fact the test of maturity for Democracy lies in me being more sensitive and protective of your right to freedom & in turn you doing the same for me . Evolving to that level is what makes democracy strong & enduring . Today everybody is zealously self guarding in the garb of upholding democracy . That is not democracy , that is being pure selfish …. Democracy does not require aggressiveness to drive ; it requires selflessness to thrive .


  • Adequacy / inadequacy are not physical boundaries but , states of mind , it depends on what you believe . That’s why what is adequate for one may not be so for someone else , similarly what was adequate today , may not be same tomorrow or vice versa
  • What is a good fashion ?… there is no one all encompassing answer , fitting all . Good fashion for a person is what he / she can carry off comfortably & confidently . That’s why if someone is awkward wearing the trendiest of clothing , it’s bad fashion for him ; on the other hand if Gandhiji was comfortable moving around in one cloth around his waist , that was most appropriate fashion statement for him .
  • What is good / appropriate donation in quantum or form , for a person ? Here too there is no ‘ one size fitting all ‘ , nor is there any absolute threshold . To me that ( amount of ) donation / charity is your threshold , which after you give away , you should be able to ( mentally ) forget . A good donation for you needs to fulfill following criteria :
    • It should not create a feeling of ‘ loss ‘
    • It should not create a sense of ‘ ownership ‘ … it is that amount which should not make you ‘ follow through ‘ to see what use the receiver is putting it to … it no longer belonged to you
    • It should not create a sense of inflated ego of having done a huge favour ( & in turn to expect the receiver to be ‘ indebted ‘ to you )
    • It should not create / retain any ‘ attachment ‘ . Your satisfaction / happiness should come from the fact that you did what you wanted to for a good cause , your attachment ended there …. What the receiver does with it is neither under your control nor should be your concern . You should neither have a judgment on how ‘ appropriately ‘ the receiver is using it nor should it make you unhappy , even if you think he/ she is ‘ misusing ‘ your generosity or even is ‘ disrespecting ‘ your gift .
    • Overall once done , you should be able to forget the details of the ‘ good deed ‘ you did . It should not prompt you to flaunt your ‘ generosity ‘ at any possible forum / opportunity . You should be able to sleep peacefully without a thought about what is / will happen to the object of ‘ your charity ‘ .
    • For any donation / charity where above criteria are not likely to be fulfilled , you are better off without donating .
  • Similar is the case for investment . Your capacity to invest is not defined by your affordability or the accumulated wealth , but by your ability to ‘ carry off ‘ the investment in amount & form . That amount is appropriate for you , which after investing ( God forbid not , but should it happen ) if you happen to lose , you should have the capacity to gather yourself up & stand on your feet … you should be able to take that knock without collapsing .

Focus On SELF – Get BETTER

Where should one focus on : Self or Others ?

  • Majority is focused on others … they derive their sense of self relative to others , because they do not really know self
  • What is missed out is attention / focus on self , as a result , they miss out majorly on self enhancement . They spend their time , energy and attention in either criticizing or ( corrective ) advising others , with an implicit base line assumption that , ‘ there is nothing that needs to be changed in me ‘ . In any case , there is nothing you can do about changing some one else ; it is only you yourself , who you have a complete control on .
  • My advise to them is to just focus on ‘ SELF ‘ , with a keen desire for continuous self evolution , along 3 aspects – just ask yourself following :
    • Focus / introspect on “ What have I gained from life “ rather than what I missed out in life
    • Ask “ What are the next 3 points I need to improve on as a better person , rather than criticizing others
    • For any issue under consideration ( be it personal , work related , social , political ) ask self “ What can I do to help address the matter ( or make things better ) “ rather than legitimizing that … some one else needs to work on this
    • Ask yourself everyday : ” Am I a better person today than I was yesterday ”  … keep the journey on , relentlessly