Thursday, 3 May 2012

Real-Life Motivational Story - And a lesson for government servants how people's work should be done

Written by Harb

Motivate yourself to do the impossible. Doing the possible too is necessary, but usual. It will be done in the course of things. But it is doing the impossible which gives an enterprise its edge. And moreover it gives its practitioners far more joy.

I am a retired civil engineer. Whenever my boss asked me to do any job and then asked "How many days will you take to do it," my answer would always be either, "Sir, you tell me, " or "What is the record?"

I simply did not enjoy doing the usual. Only the unusual, the impossible brought me to life! And it was not in response to my boss only.

Many times it was the same when I myself was on both ends.

Once some acquaintance requested me to construct a culvert (a drain or pipe that allows water to flow under a road) on a wide road. He said that he had been making efforts to get it constructed for the last many years but in vain.

The Roads/culvert people will say that they can not construct it because there is no visible watercourse joining the road where the culvert needs to be constructed. The Irrigation/watercourse people will say that since there is no culvert on the road to pass the water the watercourse cannot be constructed.

And to top it all there was a dispute between people adjacent to the place. Some wanted it constructed, others not. They will begin the agitation whenever any talk of its construction will begin in any of the departments.

I immediately understood the whole situation. The government departments were just doing what they always do - procrastinate, often with a concealed vested interest of taking 'some bucks under the table'. Otherwise any one of them could have taken the initiative, of course after checking the records. And people's dispute came handy for them. Which in any case is there for the asking for any new initiative.

I got into life! 'I will construct it and I will construct it even before anybody from the disputing parties came to know of it,' I said to myself.

I told the acquaintance to go home with the assurance that in the next morning when he will walk on the road the culvert will be there under the road. Just don't tell anybody for today. He tried to murmur something obviously not convinced but I forbade telling him to say whatever he wanted to say only in the morning.

I knew in normal course the construction of such a culvert will take more than a month. But I also knew how to do the impossible. I had already motivated my subordinate staff for long enough to do my bidding the way I wanted at any time. The rest which comprised of collecting the men and materials to do the job in such a short time as usual I took upon myself. For which all I had to do was to just rearrange my priorities.

I called my staff and told them that the culvert will be constructed and completed in the same one night. Moreover in such a way that no trace of its construction will be left by morning. 'Let not even a trace of burning of bitumen remain visible," I told them, "so that the people who will walk on the road in the morning will not know that a culvert has been constructed underneath."

I knew once the job is done the dispute will automatically die within a few days. And so it happened.

The acquaintance, amazed, thanks me profusely even to this day.

PS: Yesterday the person came to my house to invite me for his grandson's wedding (after about 30 years of the work) and was telling my son how he was amazed to know the next morning that the culvert had actually been constructed underneath the road. He said he can never forget the magical way it was constructed.


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