Parallel lines…

I was amused but it struck a chord with me. Many a time in life we meet people who are not like us nor have much in common with us. We still enjoy their company and want to be with them. It can happen at home or outside.

Even within a family, a husband and wife may be like parallel lines in terms of personality but they may get along well and love each other’s company. They may like to enjoy the differences between them more than the similarities. In life, we tend to look at people similar to us. This was a new revelation for me. How can we enjoy life as parallel lines ?

In organisations too this may be true. A manager generally tends to recruit people similar to himself or herself in their team. However, a leader may look at diversity in recruitment. This distinction between a manager and a leader may explain the logic of how parallel lines can meet in real life.

A leader believes that diversity in thinking brings in richness in decision making and effectiveness in teams. On the other hand, a manager looks at synergy through similarities. This also could be the reasons for a manager to be seen as less risk taking as compared to a leader.

Most of us in life look for people similar to our likes and interests. We have been brought up with the belief that only people with similar interests get along well. It may be against the spirit of science, which believes that opposites attract and similar magnets actually repel each other.

Of course, life is not like magnets and neither people are. But the quote by Tagore where he explains that we can enjoy each other’s company even if we run as parallel lines like the two banks of a river was a true eye opener for me today.

I looked back at my life and realised that I was looking for more people like me and less who had alternate views or likings. This possibly made me efficient but not necessarily effective. While working, I did take the risk of having diverse people in my teams and may be that helped me to be more effective most of the times.

As in the photo above, one can be friends like the two banks of the river running parallel to each other but still flowing along peacefully and harmoniously.

Life is no different. We need to learn to live the same way.

S Ramesh Shankar

16th august 2020

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