Ritika Bajaj


Are We Too Attached to Our Creations? — A Lesson from the Infosys Crisis

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The Indian dailies have been abuzz with the Narayana Murthy-Vishal Sikka saga the whole weekend.

And rightfully so — the Infosys story is being keenly watched by investors, startups, and everyone else across the country… It’s creation and subsequent management has become the stuff of legends.

So, when the company’s main co-founder and first non-promoter CEO have a fall out of sorts, the country wonders what went wrong.

Is it a co-founder holding on too strongly to his creation? Is it a cultural mismatch…or is it simply a clash of egos?

This saga reminds me of every creator’s plight… While we know that once we create something, we have to hand it over to the world, it becomes difficult for us to detach from our creations.

Do we have a right to protect what we create? We most certainly do.

But are we guaranteed it will be protected in the times to come…long after we are gone? I don’t know.

I myself had a skirmish with a client recently who added a few lines to my work after I had written the post… I was livid when I saw the changes, purely because they weren’t my thoughts, words, or even my style.

As a business person, I know what the client wants should be incorporated into the text…but as a writer, if you are trusting me to create something and expecting me to lend my name to it, it’s important that it reflects who I am and what I believe too.

The fine line between what you want and what the other wants is a difficult one to tread… The balance to keep two parties happy in any situation is a tough one.

What’s even tougher, is knowing that once you create something, you have no control how the world responds to it or interprets it… Each one will have their own interpretations, because each one is responding to it from their own psycho-social framework.

Starting a business or creating a piece of art involves a great deal of immersion and involvement in what you are doing, but once it is created, you have to instantly detach from it.

This instant detachment takes a zen-like approach that can take years to master… It takes an objectivity that few develop.

So, in my view, the process from creation to detachment needs some distance in between. It needs a healthy time gap and physical space, that allows the creator to slowly disentangle from the creation.

In the case of business, you could be working at it for a few years, and then gradually hand over to the next in line…

In the case of writing and the creative arts, that time during post production can be used to objectively look at the strengths and flaws in your work, and gradually get ready to hand it over to your audience — to either applaud or critique.

Too much attachment leads to reduced objectivity, ultimately leading to loss in some form or the other…

I lost my client, and Infosys lost its CEO.

I lost revenue temporarily, while the shareholders of Infosys saw huge losses due to a dip in the stock...employee morale too was affected.

But if you look at the brighter side, disruption maybe a good thing, because it always leads to introspection and reassessment of values…finally leading to regeneration in some form.

At what cost, though? If the cost is something you can absorb, go ahead and stand by it… If not, think again before you get too attached to what you create…

My final takeaway: Get attached to anything — your philosophy of life or business or creation — only when it benefits more than just your ego, and when it serves a larger number of people or bigger cause. When the attachment serves only your ego, and not a larger good, you need to start distancing yourself from it, or else it will serve no one…not even you.

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