Saturday, August 26, 2017

Upgrading our Adversaries to Friend Status

The Bhagavad Gita starts on the eve of the biggest battle India had ever fought. General Arjun didn't want to fight, not because he was afraid but because he considered it a meaningless battle. His friends and even relatives were fighting on the other side. Lord Krishna, however, told him that he had to, whether he liked it or not. Arjun fulfilled his mission, and in the process, found GOD.

Things have changed compared to those dark days. We mostly don't battle life and death confrontations any more. We have become more civilized in our interactions. Athletes are perhaps our modern day soldiers who fight it out among themselves season after season. But then, many of us also have battles in our line of work when agendas, expectations and mission statements clash. Today we have the advantage that we can fight out conflicts multiple times until our karmic debt has finally been served and we stand ready to advance to the next level.

In my career as a financial strategist I have had many adversaries over the years, and still have. Yet, what seemed like a war of good and evil in the beginning has become more of an intense arm-wrestling match among friends. That's the benefit of being in the same business for several decades, you somehow have seen the movie before and interpret it very differently. Some adversaries disappear over the years, but those who stay often become friends instead.

I cannot tell you what the lesson learned is. If you are on a mission then get your job done just as Arjun had to before you. Yet in all that struggle there is always an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture. Those who stand in your way also often just do what they think is best given their circumstances. I was privileged that I never really had to face evil and wish the same blessing to you. Who knows what the best conflict resolution is, maybe you just need a new job or mission? Hopefully you are just about to experience the greatest realization that your perceived adversary is in fact your friend.

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