... that which motivates and binds us

Kathmandu :

I want to do animation and music, and I will do Chartered Accountancy side by side.”

The setting was a French restaurant and these words were spoken matter of factly by my 16-year-old son in response to the usual “What do you want to do” by a friend.

Animation and music, yes, but the ‘Chartered Accountancy’ hit us out of the blue. My husband and I were hearing about this for the first time.

I looked across at my son looking relaxed and confident, sipping juice and I thought, “What a difference! Is this the same person who used to be so diffident, shy, confused and irritated to the ‘and what do you want to do?’”

I started thinking — what was it that had brought about this change in just about the three months that we had been in Kathmandu?

Yes, there had been a change of place, but that was nothing new because with the type of job my husband and I did, we kept moving every three years. So what was different this time?

Snatches of conversation kept coming back to my mind — bits and pieces about the new friends he was making, how very warm and friendly some of them were, how he was making more and more friends everyday, and how when asked if he would like to invite his friends over for lunch on a holiday he was in a fix because that would mean inviting the entire class of 30!

And then suddenly, it dawned on me — the difference was he had made a lot of friends. And the difference was nothing but the influence of happy relationships that had him exuding a rare confidence that was relaxed and focused.

“And what do you want to do?”

This time the question was addressed to my daughter.

“I want to be a psychotherapist and learn French”.

“Why do you want to learn French?” asked our friend.

“Because my best friend is in Canada and I believe French is the main language there.”

This again set me thinking.

So not only do relationships give confidence, serenity and stability, they also inspire and motivate a person to learn, grow and develop constantly. They provide that inner fire and sense of direction which we call motivation, and the lack of which is a great subject of debate in organisational dynamics today.

“But hasn’t it been difficult for you both to cope with your parents moving so frequently?” persisted our friend.

“No way,” replied my daughter. “In fact it has helped us in learning to adjust better and in coping with all types of situations, more easily.”

What my daughter had said so casually was another dimension of the positive influence of relationships — they make one comfortable with change and develop the ability to accept change as a normal and integral part of life. Again it struck me — this lesson learnt so effortlessly by my daughter was a major cause of conflict in organisations today with managements investing huge amounts in managing and implementing organisational change.

“And how are you

liking this place? Isn’t it a little laid back?”

“The place may be laid back but what we are loving here is the openness and warmth of people — that sort of compensates for everything else. In fact it blurs out the other things so that we never think about it at all.”

This was the unanimous reply of both.

And it came home to me that in the course of our lives, personally as well as professionally, we are constantly trying to find that right balance that can give us peace and happiness on one hand, and success and growth on the other.

Perhaps we should focus our energies on building and nurturing relationships — professional as well as personal — because going by the lessons learnt by my children so naturally, positive relationships negate all inadequacies and inconsistencies that happen to us in living life to the fullest.