Karma Katchup

Whether you are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, have other beliefs or none at all, there are certain universal truths that thematically run through *all* humankinds spirtual teachings: as you sow, so shall you reap. Good works beget goodness and evil begets evil. Searching for and focusing on upside (though aware of downside) while embracing a positive attitude and outlook means that you will sow positive energy and achieve positive outcomes as you journey — and people naturally gravitate toward the positive and shun the negative. Besides the obvious way to live ones life, it’s also good business.

These thoughts have come to me once again as I’ve been personally involved in far too many situations in the last twelve months — and have been observant of other ones and watched companies behave as they build, acquire and develop — that make this universal truth self-evident. A good technology company example is Google’s “Do no evil” mission statement. It is indicative of how they expect their Googler’s (or whatever they call themselves) to approach every situation, business model, technology choice, hiring decision and path choices they make as the Google journey progresses. They’ve made some missteps and done some things that have caused people to be taken aback…but their do no evil mantra seems to be making all of them drive toward the good and the positive and so far the marketplace has embraced them.

There are other companies out there that have built monopolies, for example, that have certainly sowed bad karma and whose corporate culture is to win at any cost and crush or “kill” the competition. Are setting good intentions (vs. doing evil) and winning mutually exclusive? I don’t think so. I believe you can do both and the long term health and viability of an enterprise mandates good intentions and positive energy investment is made in products, people and especially customers. IBM is a great example of a company that is clearly 100% focused on what they need to do to win without what, in my opinion, is anything that smacks of evil. Apple is another that is focused on trying to do the right thing (offering balanced digital rights management knowing that it’s table stakes to get-in-the-game with the record companies so iTunes could be born) while ensuring their business stays healthy.

If you work within the corporate world, you’ve undoubtedly experienced people practicing manipulations thinking that it would place them in a power and/or winning position. I’ve experienced this many times in my career and it barely phases me at this point in my life. Why? Because I’ve seen again-and-again that the negative energy that results from this behavior *always* comes back to the person at some point and is worse than any vengeful act I could ever deliver. Plus, the negative energy that would swirl within me while performing acts of that type would compound the negative and I refuse to go down that path.

Years ago a friend of mine came up with a descriptor of what happens when some person or company set and delivered on good intentions or received their comeuppance after clear “Let’s go ahead and do evil” intentions. He called it “karma katchup” or having the karma you sowed finally catch up with you. It always does and the good catches up…as does the evil.

A Wikipedia article on Karma states, “Karma literally means “deed” or “act” and more broadly names the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction which governs all life. Karma is not fate, for man acts with free will creating his own destiny. According to the Vedas, if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness; if we sow evil, we will reap evil. Karma refers to the totality of our actions and their concomitant reactions in this and previous lives, all of which determines our future. The conquest of karma lies in intelligent action and dispassionate reaction.”

Karma katchup. Reminds me to be watchful of what I sow both personally and professionally.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.