“Health is wealth at work”- 26 June 2012

When a batch of 20 fresh graduates joined the company as trainees four years ago, all of them looked in top shape, physically and mentally. All dressed well. All spoke a modern lingo. All had stars in their eyes and fires in their bellies. Seniors in the company looked at all those young people with lots of hopes and expectations. For, this batch was particularly bright, all having scored very high marks academically and very high grades in co-curricular activities. Seniors called this batch ‘The B Batch’ — ‘B’ for bright.

Four years down the road, that is now, the batch presents an entirely new and rather disappointing picture. For, a very high number among them is nowhere near the expected levels of performance. On the contrary, most of the members of this batch are no longer seen as ‘bright’ that they used to be when they joined. Of course, one or two members of the B Batch were proving spectacularly good and were on an achievement spree. They seemed to be going places, while the rest of their batch-mates were seen struggling to keep afloat.
One Senior Vice President in charge of HR did not appreciate what was happening. He started talking to the members of The B Batch. Initially, the kids took time to open up. But then the Senior VP started succeeding in making them talk freely. Those sessions led him to a very unnerving conclusion: Most of the 20 now-not-so-bright young members of The B Batch were physically fatigued and mentally unenthusiastic. They were young, and to that extent they had their good levels of energy as compared to older people in the company. Yet, the overall impression these people gave was of fatigue, of a clutch of young people dragging their feet.
Alarmed, the Senior VP ordered them to visit the company’s medical centre and asked the doctors there to examine the young people thoroughly. The Chief Medical Officer returned with his observations: Most of those young persons’ did not enjoy really sound health. They partied regularly. Many of them smoked tobacco, consumed alcohol regularly, had weird time tables for meals and sleep. And in their daily schedule, exercise had no place. Many of them had acquired lots of flab in the last four years and some of them had lost their original gait when they came in.
“Can we do something to help these young people?” the Senior VP wondered.
“Of course, yes. But we will have to give them a serious programme of physical exercise and mental rejuvenation like meditation,” the CMO said confidently.
“But will the boys follow it?” the Senior VP asked.
“They will have to if we include these in our schedule at work place,” the doctor said.
The Senior VP agreed and then began a serious rejuvenation programme not only for the vestiges of The B Batch but also for others. Initially, things moved laboriously, but picked up in a couple of weeks. The rejuvenation programme started making the difference, initially only on the mental level, but subsequently at the visible level.
Meanwhile, those two or three enthusiastic members of The B Batch, felt thankful to the company. They called on the Senior VP and told them how good they were feeling when they realised that their college-day chums are beginning to do better. “Sir, we often urged them to join for exercise etc, but none of them listened to us. On the contrary, they even laughed at us and poked fun at us. They used to call us ‘Old Men’. We continued our regimens and stayed young and others became ‘old’. But now that you are taking the initiative, we wish to thank you,” they said with their faces beaming.
It is unfortunate that such scenes of young people losing their verve because of lack of physical and mental rejuvenation are common in most workplaces. For whatever reasons, there are not many effective leaders in our workplaces to motivate others to adopt a decent regimen of exercise, physical and mental. And in our families, too, exercise does not form an integral part of the daily schedule.
Yet, those who follow a serious regimen of exercise and meditation often find themselves in the league of people with boundless enthusiasm. And to forge ahead in these times of intense competition, what is needed is nothing but a pepped up body and mind.
Will we ever realise this fully?

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