Check out this picture from my trip to India. This is my office manager Mukesh and his family.
Umm . . . are you thinking, “Whoa, my car doesn’t seem quite so small anymore?”
Now look at this picture:
You may speculate, “Wow! This family must have had an emergency! They all had to jump on the bike and race off to the hospital or wherever on an impromptu moment!” Well, that is not the case. In fact, this is the way most of my team and their families get around all the time. They all load up on the bike and ride off to whatever activity, school, or work commitments they have.
I have contemplated this often as I travel the world and have reflected on how we perceive our lives, our work, our homes, our incomes, our appearance, and the world around us in general. It comes down to a simple thought: It’s all relative!
I will venture to guess that when you saw that picture, your judgment hat flipped on, and, as I did, you thought, “You mean they let their kids drive around on those bikes without helmets? That is crazy!” Well, yes they do, and in their world it is commonplace. Therefore, it isn’t crazy to them relative to their world.
We define the poor in America as individuals or families whose income is under some threshold determined by the government’s Department of Health & Human Services. In 2012, for a family of four, that threshold is $23,050. Is it really poverty when, even at this level, you have a phone, washing machine, TV, stove, refrigerator, and a car? I repeatedly hear that over 2.5 billion people in the world live on less than $2 per day, which would be the equivalent of approximately $730 per year. That is over one-third of the world population. Isn’t what we call “poor” in America VERY relative to what others experience and consider being poor?
During my trip I visited Kalki, a center that Efficience and my team support in Pondicherry near our office. Kalki takes care of girls that have been abandoned because they may have been abused in some way. In this culture, when a girl has been abused, she is often discarded in the streets. At Kalki, they are not only provided shelter but are also educated and given entry level jobs, due to arrangements with community businesses. Many have excelled.
Relative to the joy and passion I having in starting a company and having a team in India that works to make us all money, the feeling of helping out those that really don’t have anyone else is fulfilling beyond measure.
Capitalism is improving living standards in India. Being an entrepreneur is allowing me and my team to help change the lives of over 200 people along with the ability to share our success with Kalki, and that is a purpose beyond words.
Looking at the world and realizing that most all things good and bad are relative to something better and worse help me keep perspective as I live my life. How do you see things being relative in your world?