Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Thursday, September 01, 2011

To Ride the Wind

A couple of years ago, I posted an article about Chinese Dragons. Both the Tiger and Dragon are elemental figures, but while the Tiger is born a Tiger, the Dragon becomes one by dint of his own effort. 

Among the fearsome powers of the Dragon is the ability to ride the wind.

Below is an excerpt from an article about a modern self made Dragon, Ram Charan. I don't know if I would want to adopt his life style, but I can't help but admire him for his expertise, erudition and focus. 

The full article may be read here.

...Having uploaded himself into the global
economy, Charan circulates, continuously, with something like the speed and efficiency
of capital. Consider the itinerary he sketched at dinner one night a few months ago in New York. He had just agreed - for the first time in his career -to let a journalist travel with him and watch him work. "I should tell you where I've been the last few weeks," he began in heavily accented English. "I go to India on the Friday of the week before
Thanksgiving. I am Sunday morning in Bombay. Monday morning I am in Delhi.
Wednesday I'm in Bombay. Thursday I'm in Bangalore. Saturday I'm in Trivandrum.
Wednesday I'm in Johannesburg. Friday morning, at seven, I am in New York. I have a
two-hour meeting with a CEO who has flown in to see me. I have two more meetings and I
fly out that night to Dubai. I am in Dubai on Sunday and Monday, then I come back here.
On Thursday night I fly out to Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Then I come back here. Tuesday
morning I have a whole-day schedule in New York. Tuesday night I go to Milwaukee. I
came from Milwaukee last night. They diverted my plane so I had to stay in Pittsburgh. I
had a meeting this morning in Philadelphia. I had three meetings here in the afternoon.
And I'm here tomorrow, with GE. Then an hour-and-a-half phone call. Then I'm going out
tomorrow night to West Palm Beach. Monday morning I have a breakfast meeting in New
York. And then I'm flying out to Perth, Australia." At least he flies first-class.

Have I mentioned that Charan has never married? That he has no children? And still I
haven't come to possibly the most peculiar aspect of his personality. I mean that which
sets him apart from virtually every person he comes in contact with, none more so than
his overachieving CEO clients: Charan has no goals. He never set out to become a
globetrotting consultant, any more than he dreamed of attending Harvard Business
School, or becoming a professor, or even so much as one day earning a living beyond the
small city in India where he was born.

Charan's weird and wonderful life is an unintended byproduct of dedication, he insists.
Dedication to learning and teaching and service, to the whole set of Hindu virtues
embodied by one of Charan's favorite phrases, "Purpose before self." "People used to
ask me, What is your ambition?" says Charan, who turned 67 this past Christmas. "I say
I have none. My dedication is going to take me where I'm going to be."

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