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CareersTaoism, an ancient Chinese philosophy, is characterised by the concept of Yin and Yang – opposite and complementary forces – and stresses the importance of balance to ensure harmony. Using the wisdom of Tao, let us practise the following principles in today’s hectic and competitive work environment:

Know your talent. There is a purpose to everyone’s life and before we contemplate strategies and learn various techniques, we need to ask ourselves: What is my unique, inherent talent that nature has bestowed upon me? Instead of choosing a line of work and then attempting to train ourselves to fit the role, cultivate the talents you possess naturally.

Compete with yourself, not others. Competition plays a substantial role in evolution by natural selection. We are constantly competing – within the organisation and with peers in the same industry. However, comparing ourselves to other people is an inaccurate and irrelevant measuring stick. When we keep raising the bar we have set internally, we become better every day and never stop improving.

Focus on the process with patience. In today’s results-driven culture, we are accustomed to seeking instant success. However, the Chinese bamboo tree takes years before its growth becomes visible but it lasts for decades. For the first four years, the bamboo tree grows only a few inches but in the fifth year alone, it grows 40 feet! Alternately, daffodils blossom in a few short months but they die in a matter of weeks. Things of lasting value do not come from a single effort but rather consistent work towards excellence.

Live in the present. Taosim suggests that we “cut off the mind road” and look directly at what is before our eyes and live in the present moment. According to the ancient Chinese text, Tao Te Ching, everything has a natural balance and it is only when we interfere with this balance that we begin to encounter struggle. The more we force something we expect or want to happen, the more we are fighting against the flow of nature and the less likely it is that it will come about.

– Fauzia Kerai Khan

The writer is Chief Consultant, i&b Consulting, Training, e-Learning. fauzia@iandbconsulting.com.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on January 26, 2014.