While touring Europe, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of regret… that India hasn’t developed as much.
When I drive or walk through Chennai, I understand a part of the reason why!
I was on my way to hospital. At a traffic light, I pulled up in the third lane (on the two-lane road) behind a row of cars. Suddenly, I saw a blur on the left side out of the corner of my eye… and a car sped past, creating a ‘fourth lane’ from a part of the sidewalk!
I was just starting to swear at his stupidity, when in my rearview mirror I caught sight of a bus driver gamely trying to follow the path-breaking trailblazer in this newly created channel.
That’s why we haven’t progressed as much as we might.
We lack discipline.
Banhofstrasse, Zurich, Switzerland
Be it natural resources or human ones, European nations have a tiny fraction of what we have. Each country is about the size of one of our states – and has fewer people.
Yet in Rome, I can go at 170 kmph on the highway to the airport. In Chennai, at 70 kmph I’d be risking life and limb (not just my own).
And in Austria, I can be in a train that speeds along faster than 200 kmph – and not even feel it. Our trains shudder and rattle, sway and creak, just to maintain a quarter of that speed – and our sore bodies at the end of the journey remind us of it!
Yes, their development has leapfrogged ours massively.
Because they are more “systems driven”.
Anything complex requires systems to work well. Be it running a business, a pit stop in a Formula 1 race, or a pediatric cardiac operation – you can break it down into a series of processes.
As such, each process can be measured, analyzed, modified and improved.
A streamlined sequence of processes makes up a system.
Systems, when followed correctly, enhance performance. And improve outcomes.
Yet our kamikaze approach and laissez faire attitude makes each incident of circumventing a system one of macho dare-devilry or covert rebellion against an uncaring authority that (we believe) has done little for us.
The result is painfully slow progress.
Champs Elysees, Paris
Is lane discipline really so hard to maintain on city streets?
What does it take to lay roads that aren’t potholed and cracked up within weeks?
How tough is it to ensure that trains and buses keep perfect time?
It won’t take much to transform our country into a truly developed one.
But it must begin with a transformation of its people.
P.S. – My course on personal transformation might help!
Mirabelle Garden, Salzburg