Accept your reality to get through an unwanted, yet unavoidable, phase

Accept and make peace with your reality. That’s when you can endure a phase you never wanted but still have to go through.
Rajratnam and Gupta: Picture Courtesy – Internet

A recent story in The New York Times caught my attention. It was written by an Indian, Anita Raghavan. And featured another Indian – the former McKinsey & Co boss, Rajat Gupta. The story talked about Gupta’s term in prison, alongside one-time friend and business partner Raj Rajaratnam – both men are convicted on charges of insider trading and are serving time at the Federal Medical Center Devens, in Ayer, Massachusetts, northwest of Boston, with 1000 other inmates. Raghavan seems to have pieced together information from a former Devens inmate, David Morgan, on Gupta’s time in prison. According to Morgan, reports Raghavan, Gupta seems to have accepted his imprisonment as “destiny”.

It is definitely a fall from grace for the former Harvard Business School graduate and old-timer at McKinsey & Co, Rajat Gupta. I remember, in 1994, when I was with India’s premier business magazine Business Today (from the India Today stable), Gupta was on its cover. It was I think for the first time that an Indian was making it to a global CEO’s position. My editor, Anand P Raman, told me what a proud moment it was for India, for Business Today and for us journalists to be featuring an Indian management great! I was young, just 27, back then. And I decided to myself that if ever I took up a corporate role (which I eventually did), I would want to emulate Gupta’s success. In fact, my erstwhile consulting Firm’s stated goal was to be an Indian McKinsey and this was in large measure influenced by Gupta’s leadership of McKinsey & Co over the period 1994~2000. It is incredible that the poster boy of management consulting and global corporate leadership is serving term in a prison in the US, to say the least.  According to Raghavan, “In prison, it is Mr. Gupta’s family that has kept him going. At the camp, he pasted family photos on the bottom panel of the bunk (bed) above him. “Hey, David, look at what we have to be grateful for,” Mr. Morgan remembered Mr. Gupta saying. “‘When I go to bed, I see them, and when I wake up, I see them.’”
Gupta’s story presents us with the opportunity to understand the true nature of Life. What goes up comes down. And what’s down sure goes up. This is the way Life plays out for each of us. Our stories may differ, our contexts may be unique, but the broad theme is impermanence – of time, people, events, things, relationships and of our Life itself. Everything and every phase in Life shall pass. And what the Cosmic Design has in store for you shall play out – unfailingly whether you like it or not, whether you accept it or not. When you don’t accept what is happening and resist the Life you have, you suffer. But with acceptance, as in Gupta’s case, as he has confessed to Morgan, while you can’t change your reality, you can at least endure it.