Monday, November 28, 2011

MORAL PLIABILITY - The Key to Success

Monday Morning Musing

The Key to Success

Look around you, in your workplace and outside, and you will realize that the most “successful” persons are those who are morally pliable.

In my early days of my career, when I was young and full of idealism, I used to wonder why so many professionally competent, talented, efficient and diligent persons do not get the success they deserve in their careers.

Now it is quite clear to me – they lacked that key ingredient which is the sine qua non to reach the top of the ladder: MORAL PLIABILITY.

Yes, if you are morally pliable you will develop the ability to unquestioningly obey orders from your superiors without suffering qualms of conscience. Your bosses will feel comfortable with you and you will go a long way in your career – yes, proficiency may take you to a certain level but to rise beyond that you need that decisive ingredient in the recipe for success – moral pliability.

If you are honest, straightforward and upright you may even be labeled as an “idealist”, impractical, conceited, dogmatic, or even worse, if you stand by your principles you may be branded as a difficult person, as someone who cannot get along with others, and your career may be written off and you may be cast away by the wayside.

If you flow with the tide, bend your principles as the wind blows, you will be appreciated as a “practical” person, tactful manager, a great team player – after all, everyone loves an adaptable person with a flexible personality. This is true in most organizations – at work and also in personal relationships in a family.

Of course there is a danger in being too flexible. Once you practice moral pliability for a long time and make it a habit to compromise your principles as the situation demands, you may reach a stage where you have no principles left to compromise.

So, Dear Reader, on this Monday morning, look around your workplace, observe your colleagues, especially the eager beaver go getter “successful” types. 

Reflect for a while and ask yourself:

Is better to be morally rigid and ethically steadfast or is it better to be “malleable” and “ductile” and practice “situational ethics”?   

When I see the number of morally pliable people achieve great “success” I wonder whether this African saying is relevant here: “The wind does not break a tree that bends” or maybe the Ancient Chinese Wisdom “The tree that does not bend with the wind will be broken by the wind”.

Or should you stand by your principles as John Quincy Adams says:Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone”.

Or is it wiser to follow the advice of Thomas Jefferson: “In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock”.

Think about it and you decide for yourself what is right for you.

As an afterthought, let me add that there is a flip side to moral pliability too. Sometimes these morally pliable persons who reach the topmost positions in the hierarchy may bring disrepute to themselves and tarnish the reputation of their organizations owing to this very quality of moral pliability that catalyzed their ascent to the top. Quite a paradox, isn’t it?

Enjoy your work and have a great week.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this story?
I am sure you will like the 27 short stories from my recently published anthology of Short Fiction COCKTAIL
To order your COCKTAIL please click any of the links below:
If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the links below:

Foodie Book:  Appetite for a Stroll
If your are a Foodie you will like my book of Food Adventures APPETITE FOR A STROLL. Do order a copy from FLIPKART:

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
Professional Profile Vikram Karve:
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog:

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.


Anonymous said...

Nice One Sir

Jose Varghese said...

A well balanced argument - though it's not so easy to decide which is better for you. If success doesn't really matter to you, it's better to Jefferson's view, I guess :)

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Thanks Aswin and Anonymous

Vicky Sadhu said...

A well balanced argument @aswin!!

Residential School

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Vicky - Thank you. Do read my blog and give me feedback