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I have found that my ultimate master on understanding and practicing Return on Investment  in the world is the one and only – My Mom. I am sure by the end of the article you would be saying “Were you talking about my Mom?” The best financial pundits could learn a lesson or two from her. It is amazing to see how through our happiness she ensured the best return on investments for the family.

Come Diwali we would have many of our friends visiting restaurants in the evening. As a child I used be starry eyed and would dream of going to restaurants and movies during Diwali holidays. My mother almost turned the tables on all my friends and made them starry eyed instead and stirred an interest in them to be invited at home. A few days before Diwali my house would wear a festive look with my mom making cans of mixture, omapudi, ribbon pakodam, rava laddu, barfi and we would go slurp! She would keep us busy with play, eats and also send plates of goodies to all our neighbours and they in turn would return the goodness by filling the plates with the goodies they made at home. On reflection I see the intelligence behind her move. At one stroke she avoided the expenses of the hotel (and sometimes a spoilt stomach) and also encouraged an age old tradition of give and take, thus increasing the bonhomie amongst neighbours and my friends. Now would that qualify as intelligent planning stemming from a space of caring and a great return on investment?

Similarly she had a unique way of making us study. She would put us at play first and once we started enjoying the game she would slowly mention the subjects we had to study.  Since our focus was on the play we would ensure that we finished the studies. What an example of investment in our happiness to ensure our future stability. What a barter!

To keep the fires at home burning my father had to resort to his strength i.e his command on English language. While he went to a 9 to 5 job, he also wrote advertising copy for many clients thus earning for his play of words. The extra income helped my mother educate us and also build her future home. To aid my father my mother would pack his food, ensure that he maintained a right frame of mind after work to continue with copy writing. A happy man does produce great results! Her small acts of caring turned to be investments fetching great returns in times of crisis.

Her buying skills however take the cake. It would be a treat to watch her negotiate with the vegetable vendors. She would buy the vegetables in a planned manner. Her cuisine would include the occasional bread rolls, pattice, burgers etc, all home made. Volume buying would fetch her good discounts and her culinary skills ensured happy minds at home. It was double advantage for Ms. Mom.

The moral of the above incidents for a businessman who tires his eyes over balance sheets and is looking at his return on investments is as follows: Happiness of the stakeholders as an objective will yield inspired performance and will thus add to the overall growth of the organization.

Just imagine a boss who enquired about you and your families health, who cared about your work life balance, who takes extra care to equip your abilities to perform well and who goes the extra mile to build a conducive atmosphere at work for you to perform. Wouldn’t he be a dream boss to work for? Wouldn’t you want to double up your efforts and work harder to achieve the vision of the company for such a boss and such a company? Would you agree that Happiness has the potential to stimulate Return on Investment?

Vasanti Iyer

Director, Art of Living Programs for Excellence At Workplace

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