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The way out...

Author Santosh Sharma on “Next What's In”

Photo: V.V. Krishnan

LITTLE BOXES ON THE HILLSIDE Santosh Sharma

Most of the time when one reads a self-help book, one is reminded of that funny scene from Coolie, where Amitabh Bachchan trying his hand at making an omelette, gets mixed up when Rati Agnihotri keeps altering his radio's frequency between a culinary show and a yoga programme. Santosh Sharma is the latest to join the list of management professionals turning to self-help books. Interestingly, his book is also called “Next What's In”. After turning a few pages you realise it is a believable guide to realistic change.

So, what was the catalyst? “My lack of freedom was the real catalyst. As I was growing up I started realising that I was not free. I had stereotyped thoughts that came automatically and compulsively and I was simply following them like a puppet. When I sat down to study, the television distracted. When I wanted to act, comfort stopped me. When I wanted to tell the truth, my fear prevented me to do the same. When I wanted to be dedicated to my would-be wife only, my sexual urges forced me to stare at other women, and when someone insulted, my ego would take a hit and make me aggressive,” says Sharma, who has worked with big conglomerates like Maruti Udyog, ICICI and Air India. “I discussed it with my friends and colleagues but they felt it was all natural. I was convinced that it wasn't the case and is completely created by us. All this was not there earlier in me. This self-realisation and my journey with the Gita, Koran and Bible along with the management books led to active spiritualism, i.e., when one is free from traps. This mental slavery of ours is leading to all social and professional evils like rape, corruption, mental and physical pollution, underperformance, and what not. I thought it's critical that my realisation is shared, and ‘Next What's In' was born.” Talking about the uniqueness of the book, which says thinking out of the box is not enough — dissolve all the boxes — Sharma explains, “The reader is made the protagonist and his twists and turns in life have been dealt with in a simple and lucid manner, which he can connect to and which he can practice 24x7, be it at his work station, on the road or in the house. It addresses the “how factor” that people are looking for. It talks of only one solution to all our problems and that is freedom from mental traps that have been abusing us all this while.”

“All of us usually respond to everyday situations through automatic and compulsive thought patterns. This prevents us from designing thoughts and solutions as we are mentally trapped. These mental traps are the boxes that we are hooked to. We fail to listen to our inner voice and fall short of fulfilling our dream. We become followers. Management thinkers worldwide now encourage “thinking out of the box”. By doing this we are able to come out of only some of the superficial boxes. The deeper boxes, like our wrong understanding of ourselves, creation, perception and religion, still remain to pollute our decisions. We still suffer from hidden fear, ego, attachment, limited intelligence, likes, dislikes, habits etc. that guide our thoughts. Thus, the solution continues to be limited and infected. So at best we can only be conditional leaders. Dissolving the boxes is the real answer wherein we free ourselves from all the compulsions of thought patterns that come automatically. Now we do not react from the boxes but we act from the field of all possibilities and infinite creativity.” This makes us real leaders.

Sharma maintains management and spirituality are two different things only till we respond from our boxes. “Can there be a real leader who is not spiritual or vice-versa? There can be none because a real leader cannot lead without practising the Universal Laws on which spirituality is based. A real leader must first lead himself before leading others. I realised the missing link, so I designed the idea of “dissolving the boxes”.

ANUJ KUMAR

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