A brain vs. A pair of hands.

Dr. House (M.D.) absolutely detests sitting in a clinic and prescribing medicines for patients with obvious problems that require no diagnosis i.e. no thinking. After all, he is the Head of Diagnostic Medicine for a reason; he prefers cases where his brain needs to get involved and not just his hands.

Often people think it’s okay to reuse brains as a pair of hands when it’s cheap (almost free), and convenient. Managers often use authority to offload work that’s boring on smart people over whom they have control. Parents, spouses or children do the same in situations where they have emotional or guilt-based control. This phenomenon is more prevalent in our previous generation where intelligent women or subordinates were often treated like a pair of hands, completely ignoring potential and ability. Many women of the earlier generation have not utilized their qualifications. They accepted being a pair of hands at home and at work. In the early years of a company, an extra pair of hands is valuable. But once you can afford to hire, why would you reuse a trusted and qualified person for routine jobs?

Taking the habituated, convenient or cheap alternative breeds resentment that grows deeper with time. Don’t insult the brain just because it comes with a pair of hands. The world is full of those who just want to use their hands – just post a job on Monster and your Inbox will be flooded with them.

The House M.D.s are rare, more precious than diamonds. Nurture them with care; their brilliance can light up your life!

P.S. Just to illustrate a counterpoint. Sometimes people overestimate the brain because of the tags a person brings such as IIT/IIM/Ph-D/Wharton/Harvard. This over-valuing tendency is common among promoters who have an inferiority complex because of their background. They hype the new entrant and request his/her analysis on everything. Very soon, you will have created a Chief of Strategy – who executes little but has an opinion on every issue. One way to avoid this problem is to first let people execute on the basis of the skills they bring, and create hype only after they have proved that their brain works along with their hands!


  1. Amazing article…Really like the way you have played Devil’s advocate on your own thought process in the last paragraph.

  2. Anamika

    Really “Like”d this article.Specially the closing note.

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