Focus on contribution – not entitlement

Focus on contribution – not entitlement

Add value first. 
Entitlement will follow. 
Entitlement goes with the territory. 
Contribution defines the territory
Because entitlement is directly proportional to contribution. Entitlement is the result of contribution. If you want more ‘entitlement’, contribute more. Only those who contribute greatly are entitled to great rewards. What do I mean?
We live in a world of cause and effect. If you want to change an effect, you must address its cause. For example, obesity is an effect. Its cause is sugar intake which we do by means of the sugar-laced drinks, fizzy or otherwise, that most of us are addicted to. So, if you want to lose weight and start exercising but do nothing about your addiction to Coke or Pepsi, exercise will only make you thirstier and increase your problem instead of curing it. 

The same thing is true of every effect we see in our lives. You want to change it, address the cause. Peace is an effect. Justice is its cause. But today those who have no concern for justice want peace. Those selling weapons and have their economies based on them, want peace. That is like a drug lord who wants an addiction free society. 

Until justice is established, peace can never be established. There will always be those who fight injustice. And to them others who do nothing but talk of the need for peace, owe a debt of gratitude. If they didn’t stand up to fight injustice, corruption would spread in the land. 
In the world of cause and effect:

If you want to be loved, be compassionate to others

If you want to be respected, show courage and stand up to defend the truth
If you want to empower others, share knowledge and build trust

If you want to help others, share your wealth, knowledge and influence

If you want to promote growth and development, promote entrepreneurship

If you want peace, establish.

Until then every peace is only a recess between wars.
Ideals are important because a life that is lived without seeking to achieve an ideal is the life of an animal. To eat, drink, sleep, procreate and die. Cows do that, sheep do that, cockroaches and mice do that. It is not worthy of human endeavor. Be idealistic. 

We all start in the same place as idealists. But some of us allow life to dampen our idealism, to suppress it in the name of being ‘realistic’. Gradually we move down the slide all the way to being cynical and indifferent. But guess what? The original flame of idealism that we started out with can be dampened but it can never be extinguished. A spark always remains. 

That is why when we are idealistic people discourage us and some even get angry. It is because in our eyes they see the picture of what they used to be. But if we refuse to give up our ideals then they slowly come around and the small glowing ember that is in their hearts, leaps into flame and lights the way ahead for them and us. 

So never lose your idealism. I call myself a ‘shameless idealist’. I am not apologetic about this. I am proud of it. No matter that some of my ideals may not be realized in totality. I know of no other way to live than to live idealistically because in this way of living is deep satisfaction irrespective of the results. 

It is ideals that make us human and it is striving towards them that makes life worthwhile. 
Forget about money

Forget about money

Money measures nothing except greed. 
When money becomes the objective, misery is the return. 
Service is the goal, the result of which is prosperity.

Money is an effect, a result. What do I mean? Well, you see, we live in a world of cause and effect. The fundamental rule here is, ‘If you want an effect, work on the cause.’ For example, peace is an effect; it is the result of justice. So if you want peace, then seek to ensure justice for all. If injustice prevails, peace can never come about because people will fight against injustice as indeed they should and peace will be disturbed.

Similarly, money is the result of intelligent effort. The effort can be dishonorable or honorable. Both kinds yield money. One yields money coupled with anxiety, fear, disgrace, hatred, shame, and the ill will of people. The other kind yields money with respect, honor, goodwill, love, gratitude and the prayers of people. Your call which kind you want. Remember, the second kind is actually easier. And you will sleep better too.

Remember also that money is a measure of nothing except greed. It is what you do with money which counts, not how much you have. So seek to do something with money that has a lasting positive effect. That is what gives meaning to money and makes it a source of benefit to you and others and gives you an opportunity to leave behind a legacy of honor.

As the lyrics of the famous song by Abba go:

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man’s world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man’s world
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It’s a rich man’s world

The biggest killer globally today is not war but poverty. And that is not the result of lack of resources but lack of compassion and concern. The fact that we have created a world in which 62 of the richest people own more than 50% of the global population, is not simply astonishing and shameful but very encouraging. Because what we created, we can change. That we must change it, is not something that needs emphasis. A world (or country) with a huge income and wealth disparity is less prosperous, less peaceful and less happy than a country where the income/wealth disparity is not so marked. It is in the interest of everyone, including the wealthy, that wealth is shared. That increases disposable income and buying power which translates into a stronger economy and more prosperity. Strangely the powers that be, who are supposed to be intelligent, don’t seem to understand this and insist on cornering resources at the cost of the vast majority. 

Remember banking

Thoughtfulness is a factor of doing the unnecessary.
Always do the unnecessary act of kindness
This is a take on the previous one for the city boys.

Life is a bank account. How much you can draw out depends on what you put in. You put it in when you don’t need it. So that you can draw it out when you do. For those who still don’t get it: if you want people to help you when you need help, help them when they need help.

Most people don’t take the trouble to make a phone call or write an email or drop a card to someone who they don’t need at that moment; but that is when it is most appreciated. That person also knows that they are not influential, wealthy, or otherwise wanted or greatly needed and that is precisely why when they receive that call, they appreciate it. You may be thinking, ‘Well, if they are really so uninfluential, why does it matter whether they appreciate or not?’ One reason only: It is about you, not about them. Our attitudes are our own. And they decide how we fare in life. So take the trouble to connect with people by being thoughtful.

Remember also that others watch what you do and they see you doing thoughtful things and that influences their impression of you. There will always be critics, no matter what you do. Don’t worry about them. Don’t worry about the supporters either. Worry only about yourself and the One who knows what you do and why you do it. The rest will take care of themselves.

I say that life is banking because like banking, the level of your overdraft depends on your deposits and account history. People who don’t deposit or are constantly overdrawn or don’t repay loans are not considered good risks. So also in life. You must earn goodwill – the deposits. You must repay debts – repaying of loans and be thoughtful and helpful – sometimes, simply by being in touch and asking about someone’s welfare; a day will surely come when you will need someone else’s act of kindness.

It is amazing how the world is round not only geographically, but in terms of life itself. What you do tends to come back to you, not necessarily in the same place or from the same people, but it comes back nevertheless. So be sure you send out stuff that you wouldn’t mind receiving. Good begets good and evil begets evil. The truly shortsighted are those who sacrifice long term for short term; a policy that is as disastrous in Working Capital Management as it is in life.
Do insane acts of kindness; unnecessary acts of thoughtfulness. It is only the ‘unnecessary’ that is remembered. Don’t believe all that people say; you are neither as cute as they think nor as bad. And what they tell you depends on what happened most recently between you and them. People have short memories so look in the mirror often.

Advice to a young friend going to university

Five things to keep in mind:

1.      Always be thankful. It is true that we succeed by our own efforts but it is good to remember that some of them were made standing on someone else’s shoulders.  And they helped us when they didn’t need us and without expectation of reward. Don’t forget them because without them you would still be crawling. The biggest fallacy is the so-called ‘self-made man or woman.’ There’s no such thing. We are all the products of the Grace of God, of our time, environment, nation, family, friends – of all those who stopped by to lend a hand. To every one of them we owe a debt which must be repaid. So always be thankful and express thanks. People are not mind readers and even mind readers like to hear it from you. So tell them. Thankfulness increases blessings, opens new doors, inspires people to do things for you and increases your circle of influence. Thankfulness also fills your own heart with joy. Try it and see.

2.     Never compromise your legacy. Never lose sight of your purpose. Ask, ‘Why am I here?’ Write it down and stick it on your wall. Look at it every morning and re-dedicate yourself to that. Stick to that. There will be times when all sorts of other things will seek priority. Different issues will demand importance. Friends will pull in various directions. At such times look at your purpose and know that everything else must be subordinated to that if you are serious about success. Ask, ‘What do I want to be remembered for?’ Focus is the art of ignoring.

3.     Everyone has friends. The worst of them and the best of them, all have friends. Ask Mother Teresa and ask any drug dealer or pickpocket. They all have friends. The key is to have the right kind of friends. Who is the right friend? Someone you can look up to. Someone you can learn from. Someone who challenges you to be your best. Someone who tells you what you need to hear, not only what you want to hear. So it is not how many friends you have but who those friends are, which is important. Also ask, ‘What kind of friend am I to my friends?’ Do you measure up to the same criteria? Being a leader means to take hard decisions and not follow the herd. Sheep have lots of company all the way to the abattoir.

4.     No one walks alone: Every one of us is a reflection of his family, community, nation and humanity. We are never alone. Everything we choose to do or choose not to do, reflects brand value and character. Character is the tree and fame is its shadow. But of the two only the tree is real. So judge every action not only by whether it pleases you but by how it will reflect on your parents, family and nation. And most importantly how it reflects on humanity. We are human because of our values alone. That is what distinguishes us from animals. So focus on values. Compassion supercedes them all. Do to others better than what you would have them do to you. That is the Platinum Rule. A picture is worth a thousand words. An action is worth a million.

5.     Finally remember that popularity doesn’t matter: So never buckle under the pressure of popularity. It doesn’t matter at all. Dr. Rene Favaloro invented the technique and performed the first bypass surgery in 1967. Michael Jackson began his solo career in 1971 (he made his debut in 1964). Who was more popular? Whose contribution has more value? So think contribution, not popularity. In our world today, if you stand up against injustice, oppression, cruelty and discrimination, you will be very unpopular. But the world owes a debt of gratitude to those who do. Otherwise oppressors would rule unchallenged. Peace as defined by oppressors has always been, ‘Absence of resistance to my oppression.’ All those who resisted were given the honorifics of ‘insurgent, terrorist, traitor etc.’ But history is witness that it is thanks to those who disturbed that peace that we abolished slavery, have human dignity and continue to fight for freedom. So it is not whether you won or lost which matters. What matters is which side you fought on. Pick your side for you will be known by it. That is your signature.

I wish you every great dream in life and the courage to make it come true.

Medical Ethics? Who is she?

Of late we have been having an interesting and involved discussion on the subject of medical ethics in India, especially in so-called corporate hospitals involving also doctors in both private practice and government service. Interesting and involved because everyone is an interested party; at some time having been the recipients of the tender mercies of doctors and our hospital system. What I have been left with at the end of it all is the distinctly alarming feeling that the entire concept of medical ethics seems to be Greek and Latin to most doctors – or at least that is how they seem to act. So I thought it would be a useful exercise to put this down on paper, the way I see it so that we can take it on from there.

There are five players in this game – the game of medical care in India. They are:

1.    Corporate Hospital
2.    Diagnostic Center
3.    Pharmaceutical company – represented by its salesmen
4.    Individual doctors – independent & employees of corporate hospitals
5.    Patients

It is symbolic that the name given to the sufferer of a disease is ‘patient’. Perhaps it is a reminder to him of what he needs to be above all else – patient in the face of not only suffering which would be a trial enough, but even more patient in the face of open exploitation by those who he trusts, needs desperately and looks up to as his saviors. The problem is that of a lack of sync in perception. Those who he looks to as his saviors see him as their victim or prey to be used and abused until he can give no more. Exploitation by anyone is bad. But exploitation by those who are trusted is blasphemous and evil. Exploitation by doctors, hospitals and medical service providers falls squarely in that category. Let those who indulge in it fear the Day when they will meet their Creator and have to answer Him for what they did. It doesn’t matter whether you believe this or not. It will happen just the same. Just as not believing in cholesterol will not save you from a heart attack; not believing in AllahY and the Day of Judgment will not save you from it. If you don’t believe me, just wait a bit.

So what is evil about the system as it exists?

What is evil is simply the issue of breach of trust. The trust between the doctor and his patient. There are many relationships in our lives which are based on trust. Parent/child, teacher/student, husband/wife, employer/employee, lawyer/client and others. However it can perhaps be argued that the most intimate of these is that of doctor/patient, where the doctor has access to such intimate personal details of the patient that almost none of the above relations have.

A relationship that is based on trust is unique in that between the two parties there are no barriers, defenses or filters. So any hostile act goes straight to the heart without any hope of being either diverted or combatted. Add to this the complexity that in the doctor/patient relationship the trust is completely one-sided. The doctor knows everything about the patient and can learn whatever he wants simply by asking while the patient may not even know the doctor’s full name, let alone anything more about him. After all in which of these relationships can one simply order the other to drop his pants with the full assurance that his order will be obeyed without question?

Therefore when that relationship is abused the crime is compounded in it heinousness because it amounts to predatory behavior. Given that the medical profession is perhaps the only one where those who graduate as doctors actually take an oath to keep the patient as their first and only concern and to practice their profession with honor and with the sole aim of helping the patient in his hour of need; when those doctors instead start to treat the patient as prey and instead of helping him, proceed to abuse the trust to loot him; the crime becomes worse than that of highway robbery.

The situation as it exists today is as follows:

1.    Most Corporate hospitals give doctors commercial targets that they are supposed to achieve every month. If they don’t do it, whatever be the reason, they are penalized directly or indirectly.
2.    In order to achieve these targets doctors have only one way; prescribe unnecessary investigations, treatments, hospitalization, surgical procedures, ICU care and expensive medication when cheaper alternatives may be available.
3.    Diagnostic centers give doctors commissions which are a percentage of the billing they do for patients that those doctors send to them. This has been made such a fine art that even if a doctor doesn’t send patients to a particular diagnostic center, once a few patients come to them from that doctor, they automatically send a payment to that doctor.
4.    And pharmaceutical companies give doctors bribes (they call them incentives or commissions) in the form of cash and kind – holidays, eating out, gifts etc.

The person who eventually pays for all these is of course the patient as he is the only one in this racket who pays. All others collect at his expense. The patient pays directly in terms of needlessly high cost of treatment because all the incentives to doctors are passed on to him. Or indirectly through cost of medical insurance for the same reason.

The questions I want to ask the readers who are doctors are:

1.    Did you take all the pains to study medicine, qualify in tough exams and work all hours and take an oath at the end of it; to alleviate suffering or to inflict it?
2.    How is it that you don’t feel insulted when you are given commercial targets and when you are offered incentives and commissions?
3.    Are you a doctor or are you a you-know-what (let me know if you need me to explain what that is)?

Let me tell you what Rasoolullahr said about commissions andincentives:

1.    Abdullah bin `Amrynarrated that Rasoolullahr said: “The curse of AllahY is upon the one who offers a bribe and the one who takes it.”
(Ahmad, Ibn Majah and authenticated by Al-Albani) 
2.    Abu Sa`id Al-Khudriynarrated that Rasoolullahr said: “Whosoever amongst you sees an evil, let him change it with his hands; and if he is not able, then with his tongue; and if he is not able, then let him hate it in his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
3.    Abu Humaid As-sa’idiyreported that Rasoolullahrsaid: “Gifts offered to public servants are ill-gotten gains (ghulul).” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
4.    Buraidah ibn Al-Husaibynarrated that Rasoolullahrsaid: “When we appoint someone to a (public) post and provide him with an allowance, anything he takes beyond that is an ill-gotten gain.” (Abu Dawud and authenticated by Al-Albani)
5.    Khaulah bint `Amir (RA) reported that Rasoolulahr said: “Some men abuse AllahY‘s Property (that is, public money and funds). They will go to Hell on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari)
It is clear from all of the above – if you need proof for what your heart should have told you without any of this – that having anyone other than the patient as your primary client whose welfare must supercede every other consideration amounts to breach of trust of the worst kind. Taking all commissions, prescribing unnecessary treatments, making money from the patient beyond a reasonable fee, amounts to ill-gotten gains which attracts the punishment of AllahY.
I didn’t want to make this too long and so I recorded a video about this in which I have told my own story of how I was exploited and how my father was exploited by big name corporate hospitals. Sadly my story is not unique. Stories like mine and far worse abound and every day we hear a new story of gross medical malpractice which is aided and abetted by destroying all evidence of it, doctors lying about it and ensuring that no legal action can be taken against the perpetrators – hospitals and doctors. It is a racket of organized crime – to put it simply and directly.

But in all this such doctors and their colluders forget that what they try to hide is very visible from One who watches and to Whom they are all answerable.

So ask yourself these questions:

1.    How would you like to be in the care of a doctor exactly like yourself?
2.    How would you like to be the victim of a doctor working to meet a commercial target who exploits you by prescribing treatment you don’t need and inflicting suffering on you so that he can generate bills for surgical procedures, investigations and treatments which are useless or may even be harmful?
3.    How would you like to be in the care of a doctor for whom you were the first and most important priority?
4.    How would you like to be in the care of a doctor who was interested only in your welfare, ensuring that you received the best care, in the most compassionate way at the lowest possible cost?
5.    How you would like to be in the dua of all those you help through their pain and sickness?
6.    How would you like to cursed by all those you victimized, deceived, exploited and abused?

Finally I say to those of you who still want to take commissions and work to meet commercial targets, ‘See you on the Day of Judgment before the Throne of my Rabb.’

Remember my dear friends what your Creator, AllahY said:
أَلَمْ يَعْلَمْ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ يَرَى
Alaq 96: 14   Doesn’t he know that Allah is watching?