Thursday 29 November 2018

Embrace the Benign Shit

Over a year ago, I was invited to become a donor for a patient suffering with recurring intestinal infection.  When the problem first surfaced, I shuddered at the thought that I may have to offer a part of my intestine. But thankfully, the contribution needed was not that grave.  The need simply was, ‘could I donate my poop to this patient?’  The need arose ‘coz the healthy bacteria in the patient’s stomach had decimated due to excessive antibiotics usage.   The best remedy in this case was to inject, naturally healthy bacteria into the stomach; thereby through Fecal Transplantation making feasible, the resurrection of healthy bacteria.

During the four visits to a medical facility as a donor and in the following months, this episode reinforced in me, a human growth principle that perhaps all of us are aware of, but perhaps not as mindful.  Many a time, the shit that comes our way is far more useful than the nicely wrapped and labelled bouquets we receive.  The benign shit that possibly sounds awful and may raise  a bit of a stink sometimes, is often the feedback we need to grow on.  How open are we to receive such authentic critique from a benefactor? For, ‘acceptance’ of such feedback determines whether we can truly unlock our potential as exemplary performers, leaders, reformers, parents or change-agents.

Sometimes, in our desire to feed the narcissism within, we surround ourselves with people who are constipated in the face of our position/ power.  When one is intoxicated with power, they receive only the musical farts from sycophants, which sound lyrical to a pair of self-obsessed ears.  Blissfully unaware that neither their choked nose allows them to experience the stink nor their myopic eyes, reveal reality.  Hope you haven’t shut the door onto yourself by being trapped amidst such constipated well-wishers. 

Offering benevolent poop is even more difficult than receiving it; for, it requires us to shift our focus from a close-easy-convenient connect to a bigger purpose, larger good and long-term impact.  Additionally, it demands that one is willing to expose their vulnerability as well as take some risk.

Let me explain this with an example. In an organization, I observed  a role holder was abusing power. My relationship with this role holder was very friendly, comforting and fulfilling to my own needs. Gradually I saw, in his egoistical pursuit,he started compromising organizational values. Now, if I chose friendship/ comfort/ my needs over organizational demand than I would be choosing close-easy-convenient.  Continuing with the same example, let’s understand why this could be a vulnerable choice. When I raised the issue in a manner that gave rise to some stink; my relationship with the person tanked right down to a new nadir.  Additionally, another close colleague described & labelled me as ग़ोबर (cow dung).

The higher one’s position or bigger the responsibility, the greater is the role of benign shit.  While it requires high degree of authenticity and risk-taking to surface this, it requires open-mindedness and agility to receive & benefit from it. 

Are you ready to receive and offer benign shit to build your immune system better and cultivate antidotes to the organizational germs?

Do write back and keep adding manure to grow #CelebrateTheRight.


  1. Very candid... The benign shit may stink for sometime however, may be the right thing fir the individual and the organization...

  2. That's a beautiful parallel...well written and pertinent...
    whats making the insertion of 'poop' a difference is that when the donor gave the patient the 'shit' :), the timing was right the amount and composition matched measured... that may or may not hold true always in case of giving out 'benevolent poop' :)
    whats interesting is that there is a 'science' behind the giving in both cases...hence the purity of the purpose...and so the results...
    failure can be attempted to be minimised if the process is understood well...and giver 'uncontamiantes' himself/herself...