SWOT analysis, a concept as old as mankind

Management programmes across the globe lay emphasis on the importance of thinking out of the box and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses Opportunitys and Threats) analysis as problem-solving techniques.

If people are aware of their strengths and weaknesses and are alert to opportunities and threats that come their way, they are likely to be far more prepared for any eventuality.
Hence, more successful in their ventures. Most youngsters feel that this is a very modern concept and only those trained in the subject are equipped to use it effectively.

If one scratches the surface, it will be easy to see that the suggestions are as old as mankind itself. An endearing episode from Skanda Purana illustrates this point ever so well. It so happened that Narada came across a luscious, golden mango and offered it to Shiva and Parvathi. The two young sons of Shiva wanted the fruit but would not hear of sharing it.

Shiva told them that whoever went round the universe three times and returned home first would be given the fruit or the ‘phala’ (Phala is a pun in Sanskrit which could mean fruit or result of a deed).

Almost immediately, Subramanya, the younger son, mounted his peacock and zoomed away to accomplish the task. By the time he returned, he was flabbergasted to see his elder brother sitting snugly between his parents and savouring the fruit. He was told that Ganesha had accomplished the task.

Vinayaka knew that his ‘weakness’ lay in his imposing girth. Moreover, his celestial vahana, the mouse, could not help in anyway.


In such a scenario, his brother Shanmukha, was bound to win the ‘mango’ hands down – and that was the ‘threat’. So, Gajanana decided to make use of his ‘strength’ – his intelligence. He interpreted the task presented to him symbolically. He saw his parents who meant the world to him.

Immediately, he made use of the ‘opportunity’ and with folded hands circumambulated his parents and claimed the fruit.

The anecdote not only shows us that any problem can be solved, if, tackled ingeniously and methodically, but also has some more obvious messages for us. If all of us make it a point to share all the good things in our lives without ado, we can create a win-win situation during most times.

Besides, it is a well -known fact that parents love their children and to most parents their world revolves around their children. It is but right that the emotion should be duly reciprocated, thereby setting an example to posterity.

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