Interview with Vadivu Govind, on how to cultivate happiness - III

By Matthieu Ricard on October 22, 2012

From a series of private interviews with Matthieu Ricard conducted by Vadivu Govind in Singapore in September 2012, during which she assumed the role of a wealthy leader and posed some thoughts such a leader may have to Matthieu.

As a boss, my main responsibility is to bring profit to my shareholders, not to look at things like compassion or the happiness of my employees. That's their personal matter.

That's a recipe for making your whole company into a hell. Nobody will be happy. Some people will fear you. Some people will hate you.

I met someone in Hong Kong some years ago who said, ‟Well, you know, when I started, I wanted to have a million US dollars, now I have five after fifteen years, and I feel like I wasted fifteen years of my life.”

Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus also said in the Davos Economic Forum that if the whole purpose of your endeavors and life is to make a profit and is totally devoid of the human dimension, you're drying up your life.

This is a recipe for sorrow, selfishness, and misery. And when things go wrong and your business doesn't do well financially, since there's no human dimension, everybody will abandon you.
However, if there is in your organization, a sense of community, a sense of sharing human values and if on top of that, you have a social component so that you dedicate some of your effort, resources, and skills to benefit a sector of society that the CEO and everyone participates in, then in rough times your company will do better.

It's like travelling somewhere on a bumpy road. If the destination is somewhere people really want to go and there's purpose and meaning to the journey, they don't mind the bumpy road. If it's just to take you round and round for no reason, they don't want to undertake the hardships.

Interview conducted by: Vadivu Govind, Director, Joy Works ( on 13 Sept. 2012, Poh Ming Tse Temple, Singapore. She blogs at