Sunday, December 14, 2008

Different Strokes for Different Folks

The great visionary and a very successful leader who transformed himself from an ordinary person to the king of Magadh, Acharya Vishnugupta (Chanakya) classified people into five types:

· ‘Pradiptapragya’ means those who are sharp and dashing
· ‘Guptapragya’ means those who have undiscovered talent
· ‘Suptapragya’ means those who are talented but take no action
· ‘Truptpragya’ means those who are contented
· ‘Luptpragya’ means those who have lost interest

While dealing with people, according to Chanakya, one must identify as to which type the person belongs to find out the reasons responsible for his state of mind. Then decide the action to deal with him.


These are the people who are highly motivated. Most of them are self – motivated. Their source of motivation is their belief in their own values. Pradiptapragyas have appealing personality are intelligent, witty, energetic, and eager to perform. They are Sharp and dashing and love challenges. However, they are thoughtful; consider various options before action. One can trust them. To keep a Pradiptpragya motivated is like adding fuel to fire. To get best out of them one must keep adding fuel to their fire by offering challenging jobs, listening carefully to their suggestions and entrusting greater responsibilities.


A Guptpragya is like a mango or a rubber tree in its budding stage. A mango or a rubber tree takes a few years to grow before it starts giving fruits or rubber. Still, farmers very patiently nurture these plants. They know, once these saplings will become a tree, the returns will be enormous. Similarly, Guptpragyas are the people one need to invest managerial input. Once they develop themselves, will pay back whatever investment is made in their development. They have undiscovered talent. One needs to persuade a ‘Guptapragya’ for accepting a challenging task. Once he accepts it, does not need any explanation or demonstration; just a word of encouragement will do the rest.

In ‘Ramayana’ the episode of ‘Hanuman ji’ crossing the sea to reach ‘Lanka’ is a perfect example. Until the time ‘Jambuvant’ persuaded him by saying these words, “Kavan so kaj kathin jag manhi, jo nahi hot tat tum panhi” (which is that difficult task in the world that you cannot do), even Hanuman ji could not believe that he can cross the sea.


Suptpragyas are the people, who by nature are talented but take no action. These people live their lives like a patient of somnambulism, who keeps walking while asleep. However, unlike a patient of somnambulism they are cognizant. They know a minimum amount of efforts is needed to sustain their jobs, hence, always limit their potential. Until these people are awaken from their sleep, will not produce desired results. To optimize output from them one must persuade them to take actions, suggest clear-cut actions, remind them of their past achievements and provide regular feedback on their performance.


Unlike a Pradiptpragya, a Truptpragya is complacent. Complacency and motivation do not go hand in hand; rather both act in opposite directions. Complacency make them idle, they lose interest in their job. Even to put minimum efforts required to carry out their job becomes tedious for them. To bring back these people in the main stream is like bringing back a ship to the shore or to the right path that had lost its route in the deep sea. One need to help them, bring back once again their desire to succeed. Let them experience a little pride in their life, enjoyment and excitement in whatever they do.


These are the people who have lost interest. These people are very difficult to motivate, however one must try to find out the exact reason for their loss of interest, accordingly a suitable action should be taken to bring them back to normal.

Excerpts from the book: ‘Why My Horse Doesn’t Drink – Learn to motivate people around you

Vivek Mehrotra

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