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Creative Thinking: Shepherd and the CEO [Arab News (Saudi Arabia)]
[February 08, 2014]

Creative Thinking: Shepherd and the CEO [Arab News (Saudi Arabia)]

(Arab News (Saudi Arabia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ELSA FRANCO AL GHASLANI am watching a beautiful reportage about Tibet. The topic is interesting and I am enjoying it thoroughly when I am suddenly struck by an image. Nothing sensational: No monks levitating in the air or mysterious temples in the clouds. The screen shows a wide plain with a shepherd, his young son and some sheep moving along. They are walking, smiling.

Later, they would go back to their simple dwelling, meet with the other members of their family and share an unsophisticated meal. Watching those round, tanned faces, those serene eyes and spontaneous smiles, another, contrasting image comes to my mind.

I see a dynamic, big-city type of executive, clothed in Armani and shod in Gucci, talking on his cell phone, while his secretary is reminding him of a business lunch and several meetings awaiting him throughout the day. His brows are furrowed, his eyes are worried. He is thinking about a new plan to gain points over his competitors, additional investment possibilities, devising ways to convince the Board that his idea is the most profitable.

Not an unusual scene in any corporation at all levels — big companies and small firms — where people's only aim is making more money, gaining new contracts, outdoing the competition.

Then I see human beings outside their workplace, running around non-stop, always busy with something, always on their phones, on their computers, chatting, messaging, texting, playing games, writing on Twitter, on Facebook, watching TV, going to the movies, to concerts, listening to the latest pop songs.

Some are obsessed with a cause (any cause, good, bad, so-so…).

Scientists are consuming huge amounts of money to create microscopic chips to insert in the human body (even to remind people to take their medicine!), the Information Technology never stops searching for ways to "improve" the performance of their products. And then… there is the food industry, space research, the industry of politics, entertainment and… and… All this feverish race has created our wonderful modern world. No criticizing, chastising or condemning, here. It would be silly to deny the utility of many of these achievements. At the same time, I can't help imagining a pair of scales with something on each plate: On one is the "spirit" of the Tibetan shepherd, on the other is the "spirit" of the big-city CEO (or the vote-obsessed politician and his fans, or the work-driven parents who hardly know their own children).

The only question that pops up in my mind is, "Whose spirit is happier"? I am not talking about success, progress, achievement, riches, comfort. I would just love to know who lives a life that is marked by more peace of mind, whose sleep is more tranquil, whose soul is more "clean" and "fair".

We are reasoning people, therefore we all agree that "the best option stands in the middle", don't we? A balanced life between work and family, between a stressing activity and relax, between worries and serenity should be the goal to tend to.

Money is important but it should not be more important than a clear mind and a fulfilled spirit. Popularity is significant in a person's life, but it should not reach the point of becoming a computer/social networking mania.

I believe (correct me if I am wrong) that nowadays living according to the latest fashion (i.e. having the newest technological device, wearing the newest trendy clothes, owning the latest car model etc.) has become a true obsession, a priority in many people's lives. You might say that not everybody behaves like that. Thank Goodness! But "many" (too many!) do, especially among the younger generation.

I wish there was a statistic, some numerical data on how many still live in "blissful ignorance", how many live under any kind of stress or obsessive idea and how many have found a way to live a serenely balanced life, enjoying what progress can provide, but without giving up top priorities such as honesty and loyalty, without forgetting to give quality time to their families and friends, without accepting the self-imposed slavery of technology, fashions, consumerism etc.

Our world is not an intrinsically "bad" world, but having "too much" at one's disposal, too much to choose from, has caused a sort of widespread epidemic of greed, of technological frenzy, a never satisfied desire to buy, to gain, to acquire. Nothing seems ever enough, nothing seems capable of providing a long-lasting satisfaction. What about a relaxing holiday in Tibet or Nepal?n E-mail: [email protected] // Blog: (c) 2014 Arab News All rights reserved. Provided by, an company

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