Take a look at the man in this photo.
He is a holy man, in India, performing an activity known as madhukari, literally, “one who collects honey (like a bee, a little from every flower).” He goes from house to house, singing the names of God, and collects alms to take back to the temple where he lives.
That’s my sister-in-law and my nephew. They will offer him something –a raw potato, a handful of uncooked rice, a few rupees. If time permits, he might be invited in, where he will share a few words of wisdom.
It’s a very old custom, one which is still honored in the towns and villages throughout the country. I love it intensely. At my in-law’s house in Bengal, you can hear the faint ring of kartalas (tiny hand cymbals) and an oft-feeble voice, robust with devotion, approaching from down the street.
It’s like Christmas carolers. Except it’s just one guy (a Havi-ism!).
The visits happen at least once a day, sometimes a few, with different holy men and women making their rounds. Nobody feels burdened by it. It’s part of the culture. Householders see it as a brief opportunity to remember the Divine and to give thanks for the abundance they enjoy.
It makes me swoon.
But here’s why I’m writing about it:
Because, if I ran a company and needed a strong sales team, I would hire this man (and anyone like him) in a heartbeat. I would choose him over any MBA, anytime.
Not that he would necessarily ever want a position in my company, but if he had any reason to, any reason at all, my prediction would be that he would out-perform every young “suit” there was, in very little time.
If you are in sales (and who isn’t, really), you might take note. Here’s the reason:
There is nothing more magnetic than someone who doesn’t need anything.
When you reach the point of not having any attachment to the result of your activities, and yet work for the sake of working, joyfully and in the moment, you will succeed wildly at any endeavor.
I found this out when I performed madhukari myself, and again when I was thrust into a corporate S & M (sales & marketing) environment, years later.
In both cases, I eventually stopped trying altogether and just decided to have fun. My objective became to connect with as many people as possible. Really connect. Make some friends. Have some laughs. That’s it.
The largest single donation I received, given right on the street, was a check for $25,000 from a lawyer who had, over the years, become a trusted friend. We used it to buy land and build a school for 85 disadvantaged and disabled Indian children. Even I still can’t believe it.
You might feel that you do need something. Of course, we all do. Even the holy man needs his potato, after all, and he may ask for one. But he is not attached to that potato. It’ll come from somewhere.
Indeed, it always does.