“Introspection: An essential at the workplace”- 16 July 2013

The first thing K. Aravindan did on taking over as Works Manager was to put up everywhere signs that read “Introspection”. Very few people in the factory realised what that meant. For, the word, by itself, had its own meaning, but most people could not understand what relevance the word had in the factory.

After a few weeks into the new job, Aravindan called a meeting of all section-heads — men and women. Most of them had been around for quite some years, and formed the core group around whose skills and abilities the company revolved and evolved. Most of them were known to be efficient and serious about their assignments. Right at the outset, Aravindan asked, “Friends, if any one of you understands the meaning of the word ‘Introspection’, then will he or she explain it to this meeting?”
A couple of persons shared what they understood. Aravindan kept smiling as those explanations were coming up. Once that part was over, he asked, “How can we relate the word to our work?” This question was answered with a long silence. No one spoke, for none seemed to be able to relate the word to work.
Then slowly, Aravindan started speaking, expanding the word’s meaning and the concept it denoted at workplace.
His contention was simple: Each one needed to take a look at oneself. For, each person has this or that minus point, and some plus points. The task of every person was to make a happy mix of those plus and minus points so that the best of the person’s abilities emerge to make him an efficient and happy person. Happy person? — someone asked. “Yes. Happy person. I mean only that,” Aravindan said.
Then Aravindan rose from his chair, and walked to a corner where on two stands, there were two frames, perhaps paintings, covered with white cloths. He removed the white cover from one, and a mirror became visible.
Aravindan said, “This mirror shows you how you look, and this has its own importance. But here I have something else to show you,” he said pulling out the white cover from the second frame. The frame was empty, in the sense it was only frame and nothing in and one could see through it.
“What does this mean? Empty frame, you would say. But I call this also a mirror. Yes, a mirror. For, this does not show me my image, but according to me, it has the capacity to help me look inward, without getting distracted by the visual in the regular mirror. So, I can take a look at my inner personality by looking into this frame which I call the mirror of the mind.”
Everybody was amused with the new analogy. But what Aravindan told them later made a lot of sense. He said, “Look friends, what one requires is an ability to look inward so that one can analyse one’s own plus or minus points. So, my question to you is: Do you really indulge in self-analysis, that is introspection?”
There was a long silence in the meeting room. Many agreed upon much prodding that they did not introspect on most occasions. One young man said, “Sir, we pass through our work and life without much thinking. We do a lot of things mechanically.”
Aravindan smiled. “Yes, friends. I know what you mean. I realise that most of us go through things without much thought. And that is why the importance of the word ‘Introspection’. I want all of you to develop the habit of introspection. That would help you improve your work life and personal life. You would be happy persons.”
For record’s sake, it is necessary to state here that in a few months, Aravindan was able to bring about a major change in his team’s attitudes. There were fewer cantankerous moments, and fewer still hostilities between persons or groups. And then came a day when Aravindan’s factory was named the best managed place in the group, thanks to the positivism he had introduced.
That night, K. Aravindan wrote in his diary, “This miracle has taken place on the strength of only one word — Introspection”.

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