Log 2: 07-08-13 -Reflections in the field on a moonless night
August 7, 2013
Business can be incredibly demanding on the soul. Recently, I attempted to transport my fresh fruit bunches across 70 miles of plantation roads to an oil mill to the West. That foray failed miserably. As the monsoon transformed many of the roads into rivers of mud forcing the convoy of lorries to turn back. Today this news has made it’s way across the grapevine – I guess most people, especially the oil mill barons are gleefully happy.
As it seems, I really have no choice now but to sell my oil palm bunches to them. In all likelihood, they will probably offer me the lowest possible price for my fruit bunches and there is very little I can do about it.
But this story misleads on several accounts. As this failure was deliberately staged. I went to great lengths to make sure the convoy could never make it to the other side successfully.
You might ask why? The reason is, I want the oil mill barons to be lulled into a false sense of confidence. You see it is very simple really, business is war. And all warfare is based on deception.
My goal is simple to create the illusion that I have very little options but to sell my palm oil bunches to these cheap pirates. To even sustain that illusion by creating the false impression that the road to the West is impassable during the rainy season.
The reason why I am doing this is I want these oil mill barons to invest millions into upgrading their processing facility. Now they think, I am like a bird with clipped wings. Many of them will take this opportunity to invest further into upgrading their processing facilities – they will begin to take out bridging loans to finance this expansion.
When these oil mill barons commit themselves to this path of no return. I will try once again to transport my oil bunches through those trecherous plantation roads. When that happens, they will be finished. I will turn the tables on them. There will be no further negotiations. I will simply put my terms down like a man slamming a revolver on the table. Checkmate! Game over!
The entire plan sounds simple enough. But what continues to gnaw at me this evening is the idea, what I am about to do is not entirely morally right. In truth when I searched myself, all I really want to do is own these mills. And I am even prepared to prosecute on this goal with hardly a care as to what will become of my adversaries. But why should that be the case? After all, how different can they really be from me? I am sure many of them have worked just as hard as me, if not harder to have reached where they are today. So why am I so callous?
Could it be greed? I tell myself that isn’t me. After all my lifestyle has hardly changed. I don’t really see the need to sorround myself with nonsense. Never had that bent. Money isn’t really something that motivates me – I know it should. But to me the bottom line is it has never been the goal. As plantation business is a pretty inefficient way of getting rich.
If I was the major shareholder of let’s say a semi conductor business I am sure my attitude towards money would be radically different. But as it is, even if you gave me ten million dollars today. Even that would hardly register in my lifestyle. I still prefer to sleep in a military camp bed. My accommodations in the plantation can at best be described as austered and Spartan. The only luxury that I really allow myself is my fetishes for power tools and the unusual assortment of instruments and gauges that I seem to buy on a regular basis. Apart from this, my lifestyle has remained quite untouched by money. So it can’t possibly be greed or money – of that, I can be 100% certain.
Maybe it’s my ego? Yes those oil mill barons after all gave me a rough time when I first came here. Then again, I am accustomed to dealing with difficult people. I don’t ever take it personally. Neither do I aspire to be the top dog either. I am quite happy just sitting in one corner as suffer fools silently as I watch their ego get the better of them. So surely, it can’t be my ego.
What is it then? Why have I chosen the road to total war when there is plenty of scope for peace? Do I fear peace more than war?
It is conceivable there is a darker reason behind my motivation. Maybe this is something that I am not prepared to deal with just yet. Not now. No. I just need to put it all aside in a way a man puts a thing away into a cigar box and slides it underneath his bed. After all what if….I don’t like what I see?
Where I wonder is that man now who wants to do good? The man who wanted to go into business to make the world into a fairer and better place? Where is he in this moonless night?
“If I am called to only give one piece of advice to someone who wants to turn the wheel of life as a businessman - it would be to always strive to be good to others. Even if it means you have to go the extra mile – just do it! Don’t even think! Like I said, do it!
That’s to say, treat others, especially those at the bottom of the food chain in exactly the same way you want to be treated.
It doesn’t matter whether that man earns less than you or even if he graduated from what you believe to be a tin pot university. Just give him the benefit of good light and a level playing field. Nothing more or less.
Doesn’t even matter if all he has is two miserable acres to call his own – treat this man like a brother! This I tell you all to do!
Don’t keep him waiting in lobby as if his time is worthless and yours is valuable- never talk down to him – and if possible give him every molecule of your presence - switch off your phone, look him in the eye and talk to him as if the King or Queen of England is before you – in probably the very same way, you want others to regard you.
As when you do this one simple thing. In all probability. You will be sowing the seeds of goodness and if that person who you once gave the benefit of good light makes it all the way top of the hill – the chances are, he would probably be happiest to give some of the good that once came his way back to others, especially those who need it most. And even if he doesn’t feel inclined to do so – you can always go back to this man and sit him down and give him a lecture on the goodness that you once brought to him…this man will feel so ashamed…he will cry like a baby…after that, he will give, till it hurts. You have every right to do this.
This I believe is how we as humans educate ourselves on the whole idea of morality, ethics and humanity – I do not believe something can just come from absolutely nothing, but it all begins by just cultivating the discipline to treat others, especially those who are less fortunate than you with respect and dignity. By doing so we not only mentor, but more important we give them the permission to do the same when they have the means to do so.
But if you disrespect a man, drag his name thru a mud field, fix him, hobble him with lawyers no end, knock him over the head, trip him over and over again etc etc when all he wants to do is turn his little wheel of life in his humble corner of his world - then I think, you are playing with matches - as there are only two possible outcomes.
One he keels over a dies. And I hope that happens. I really do. For your sake, your family, others and the rest of humanity.
Now consider the second possibility: what if this same man of constant sorrow doesn’t keel over and die? What if he survives that perpetual cauldron of flaming balls of fire, brimstones, scorpions, lightning and hail of bullets to make it through to the otherside - what if he even makes it to the top of the hill - then I think – all you have really managed to do despite your best efforts to put him down is to create a man who is so hard, indifferent and cruel that you have to fear and prepare to met your maker.
You see, you made him what he is. It is important that you understand this - you fashioned a monster with your own hands , with your own stupidity, callousness and recklessness with malice afore thought – as all you did was to take, take, take and take from this man without ever bothering even so much as once with the whole idea of giving back – you took from the man who had so very little – you did not even leave him one tiny morsel of pride and dignity to allow him to be the humble man who can take pride in his cheapy cheap Casio watch…Korean car…humble shed…veggie patch…no, you wanted to pummel him into grist. You wanted to break him into half! You couldn’t just leave him with his tiny sliver of happiness.
And so you have created a monster.
A man who is so estranged from goodness that all he can really do is give you the same hell that you once gave him - but that is not the worse part . Not at all. NOT even what this man will do to you and your loved one’s once he succeeds – trust me, this man will have his way with you and after he has finished with you. He will move on to your bent friends, one by one, he will split them like a samurai cutting through a sea of men with a razor sharp blade – this I can guarantee you – this man will sow the seeds of enmity , hatred and his anger will be like a thousand suns – he will not stop even when brother turns against brother - like a runaway train, he will do the same to others even the wide eyed innocent and unassuming – that I consider to be the saddest part – as this man is already dead. He died a very long time ago. Or shall I say, you took away whatever that was human, humane and gentle about him. And what you’re really looking at is a shell of a man.
Till of course, someone decides to put a bullet into this monster’s head. Then it all comes to a sad and ignominous end. That’s really all you have done. That my friend is the sum of total of your contribution to the human species in this timeline, if you don’t sit down and think about life from time to time.
Do you now understand? - that gentlemen is why I believe the sages say, life is cruel, so very cruel…..for so many years, I did not understand what this meant, but now I understand. I understand completely. The horror…the horror.”