Importance of Indulging in Pleasure: - A Hedonist View at Business

by Shiv Sharma / November 17, 2014

Sometimes it feels that pursuit for materialistic aspirations has acquired negative connotations over the course of human history. Desire for wealth, opulence, comfort and luxury is looked down upon while being detached and restrained is encouraged. Hedonism is quite often viewed as a shallow philosophy.

A rooftop view of the New York City skyline gives the same amount of wonder as experiencing the scenic expanse of Himalayas. Not to undermine spirituality but just because something is man-made doesn't mean it is any less awe inspiring than natural world; because no matter what we become, we would still be part of nature itself; same holds true for our aspirations.

In medieval India, a lot of people started becoming ascetics. This led Chandela rulers to construct the famous Khajurao temples full of intricate (sometimes erotic) sculptures; its purpose was to encourage people to fulfill their materialistic desires.

Our aspirations are quantified by luxury. We have always been fond of things that give us pleasure and would continue to remain so till the end of time. That thirst for bigger, better things in life is what keeps us growing. It serves as an impetus towards achieving success. It’s only fair to say that a desire to improve the quality of life is what propels and sustains innovation. It is not wise to overlook your materialistic desires.

Of course it doesn't mean that everyone should aspire to have the lifestyle of an Ottoman Sultan. It means that people should aspire for better things in life and shouldn't feel any shame in taking pleasure out of it.

Pleasure fuels innovation. We dream of creating something new if we get something in return. If you think about it, every innovation that we have witnessed throughout history was driven by one or more of the following three kinds of pleasure: -

  1. Physical: - Desire to fulfill bodily needs or as Maslow called them Physiological Needs.
  2. Social: - Desire for acceptance and recognition.
  3. Creative: - Desire to witness or generate something which is artistic or creatively stimulating.

To be an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand the needs your venture will satisfy, not just for yourself but also for your customers and employees. Actions which stimulate more of the above mentioned needs than others have larger and lasting influence.

A typical business offers a good/service in return for money. A process that ultimately provides physical pleasure to both the parties involved. Gradually successful businesses acquire acceptance and recognition from the society. That’s where most businesses achieve gratification which puts them in a loop to repeat the things they have done and maintain the status quo.

Few enterprises seek creative pleasure. They try to do things differently just because that is a satisfying act for them. That’s where the difference lies between ordinary and extraordinary enterprises.

So what exactly is the measure of a successful enterprise? Is it its return on equity or net profits? Total revenue or employee headcount? Or is it something more; something better.

To say that the measure of organizational success lies in how much joy it gets and shares with others might not be just a romantic but a pragmatic statement too.

The world in all its beauty and splendor is an incredible place. We are here for a short period of time. To live our lives based on having a good time is probably not as bad as it is made to be. The same holds true for organizations as well.

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