Episode # 122 – “An small effort should yield big output” – Vidura explains a key “Operations Management” principle!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important point explained by Vidura to King Dhirdiraashtra – If we feel that we are getting angry or frustrated for unnecessary reasons, let us consciously try to cut down on it. This would enhance both or physical and mental health and ultimately we would be able to obtain peace of mind. If we’ve to achieve this, we should first stop poking unnecessarily into others’ matters. The more we poke into what others are doing, the more we get anxious. Expectations would grow and flare up. If this expectation doesn’t go in line with what happens on the ground, we tend to get angry. The moment we get angry, we start yelling at people. But if this yelling creates no positive impact on anybody or anything on ground, isn’t it a waste? Let us together think about it as we move forward in life.

Now moving forward to the next important point, here Vidura explains that a person should undertake a task that requires minimal effort to obtain an enormous positive outcome. Vidura explains thus:

“Kaaschdarthaan narah praagnyaha laghu moolan mahaa phalaan!!”

From the above sloka Vidura clearly brings out this point – A person should undertake those kinds of tasks that would require little strain, but would be able to obtain high results. This is a tricky statement here and our readers should not get confused. I shall try to explain it in a lucid manner – We should choose those tasks or activities that are easier to perform, however once we’ve taken up the task, we should put in our maximum effort so that we attain the desired success out of it. There is no compromise on the effort portion here. What he means here is that, we should take up the work that we would be more than capable of performing; yet we need to put in our 100% effort to complete it successfully.

We can see the application of this point directly in today’s organization or industrial set up – If we have to set up a factory to manufacture a product, we should design the manufacturing line in such a way that it can produce products at a much lesser rate than its production capacity and still the company can make profits. For instance let us consider a car manufacturing company – Every car company would have a production plant that can manufacture around 500 cars per day (this number is just for an understanding purpose) and this would be the maximum production capacity of the factory. The situation should not be in such a way that the company would make profits only if it compulsorily manufactures 500 cars a day. Rather, the company should design the manufacturing capacity in such a way that even if the manufacturing line operates in just 50% of its capacity, the company would be able to make profits. In this example, the company should be able to make profits even if it manufactures just 250 out of the 500 cars that the plant can produce. However, the company should not restrict with this 50%. If the profits should be bigger, it should try and operate the plant at maximum capacity (500 cars per day) to obtain bigger profits.

Thus we can see here that there is no compromise on the effort part. The production line should always run to full capacity. However, the company should be able to generate considerable amounts of profits even if the line runs to half of its’ capacity! What an explanation by Vidura and how true is this in the modern day!

We can apply this concept to many other infrastructure projects that are happening all over the world. Why do we for instance build world-class roads, flyovers, highways and expressways with eight or ten lanes, huge Greenfield airports, etc.? It is to make the infrastructure ready to handle the projected increase in the amounts of cars on the road or the number of flights and passengers for the next 10-15 years! Thus we can see that the infrastructure should be robust. However with the number of cars or flights that the system handles, the project would start giving very good returns to the government in a very short duration of time.

Another example that can be compared to drive this point home – For instance, while driving on the highway our car stops midway due to some mechanical trouble. What do we do? We have a small jack that we fit to the wheel. Once we rotate the pulley, the jack slowly lifts the car up from the ground. We might wonder how such a heavy car is lifted so easily! We are just taking a small effort by rotating the pulley. But the jack is what lifts the car easily, rather than we trying to lift it personally!

This is exactly what Vidura is trying to explain here – “Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! Splitting the kingdom for the Paandavas requires just a small effort and for a king of your stature, it is an easy job. But if you are able to do this easy job perfectly, the whole of the Hasthinaapura kingdom, inclusive of the Paandavas, Lord Krishna himself and also the people of the kingdom are going to hail you as one of the most righteous kings in history!”

Thus the message from today’s episode is that we should choose tasks that require easy and a minimal strain, yet we should put our 100% effort into it to make it more and more successful! So for today let us ponder over this point, and try to introspect whether we are able to choose such jobs and actions to obtain enormous success. We shall wait till the next episode to witness Vidura’s next point of explanation. Stay tuned! 🙂

Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kerala, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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