Rajeshwar Upadhyaya, Editor-in-Chief, The Leadership Review

Rajeshwar Upadhyaya, Editor-in-Chief, The Leadership Review

August 8, 2015

2,500 years ago a Greek philosopher sat on the banks of the river merely to watch the water flow. He had done so for many days in a row. It intrigued him. There was a certain metaphorical lure in the ebb and flow of the waters. It was like life in many ways. Many banal ways. Inane ways. But the river drew him in. Into a meditative trance. A deep pensive introvertedness. A stillness. As still as a Chinese vase in perpetual motion. It wanted to speak with him. In words that eluded language. The language of silence. The language of the heart. A language most unmistakable. And it did. He sat up. A flaming up of the senses. He saw through the vagaries that surrounded his everydayness. He saw. This then is the anatomy of insight. A deeper understanding that has the power to transform everything. Including how you engage with the world.

He saw that the river was a flow of water. Without the flow of water you don’t have a river only a river bed. If you stepped into the river the water that touches your feet will never ever again touch your feet. If you stepped out and then back in. it would be another river….another waters. Then he uttered those words that have reverberated for centuries and engages us most closely today. He pondered that you cannot step into the same river twice. Change is the only constant.

A contemporary Heraclitus, 8000 miles away in India was Goutama Buddha. He lay in the final moments of his life. Aged. Frail. Unwell and dehydrated with the long nights illness. He turned to Ananda his favourite student and spoke: decay is inherent in all component matters O Ananda. Seek therefore thy own salvation diligently. This was the entropy argument. Everything is tending towards chaos if not managed and maintained by human intervention and energy. The civilised world as it stands today is entropic. Disruptive. Chaotic. Perpetually spinning out of control.  Management firms have tried to capture this in VUCA world. Here hetroskedastic change and unmanageable complexity rule the world.

If change is the only constant and decay is inherent in all component matters then the deductions are rather linear:

If you are not becoming better you are becoming worse. If you are not growing you are decaying. If you are not progressing you are regressing. There is no status quo.

Anchoring this growth in a deeper inner purpose, in one’s entelechy is the pursuit of leadership. It has to be inclusive and collaborative. Compassionate.