Wealth, Education, Power: The Currencies in Human life
In Hindu mythology, all that which can be transacted between two human beings takes the form of three goddesses: Laxmi, Saraswati and Durga. Laxmi is the goddess of wealth, Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge. Durga is Shakti, the goddess of power. The first two goddesses are easy to identify and well acknowledged by organizations. Lakshmi appeals to the wallet and Saraswati to the head. One manifests as top-line, bottom-line, growth, equity, market capital, pay slip, perks, and reimbursements while the other manifests as intellectual property, formulas, methods, processes, training, learning, and experience. Lakshmi can be given and taken; Saraswati can be given but not taken. But what about Durga, the power? Can she be given or taken? The western management philosophy ignores this currency.
Power has become the antidote to the poison of fear. In fact, it transforms itself into the currency of all emotions. Give it to create security, take it away to create insecurity. Give too much power and the secure can get arrogant.
When asked what they seek from bosses, most employees admit it is not money or knowledge: it is usually emotional comfort, a sense of security. In other words, they seek power. Likewise, what do bosses seek from employees – respect, obedience, creativity, involvement? Both sides seek power. This is one transaction where each one has the infinite capacity to give, and take.
Organizations often forget that at the core of the human being is fear – fear of invalidation, fear of impermanence, fear of insignificance. It is this fear that propels us to be who we are. It influences our behavior. Makes us ambitious, clever, cunning, generous or stingy for wealth and knowledge and affection. Emotion, not wealth or knowledge is what makes and breaks relationships.
Organizations need to ask: what makes a boss rude and obnoxious? What makes him considerate and kind? What makes a subordinate proactive? What makes a subordinate shirk work? Usually answers are sought in measurable things – earnings and trainings. But the answer perhaps lies in the
Durga, the power, the currency of emotions being transacted between people.