The working professional code
Why is it important to know the different aspects of your work life
What is professionalism all about? Is it just about serving your profession with excellence or is it something more than that? Can it be defined by a certain code of conduct, a personality, or a way of carrying yourself? If it is all about being excellent, then the question is: Being excellent in which profession? Let’s proceed to know more about the different aspects of a working professional and what they mean.
Commitment: People often say, “I want to remain committed to my work, but I lose track and get distracted.” And then their entire purpose is how not to be inattentive. But what is it that you do not want to get diverted from? What is it that you have picked up? What is it that you want to stick to? Why do you want to avoid distraction?
If you carefully look into the task that you have picked up, it would quickly become an investigation into the very nature of your life and you will be forced to change it. That hurts in the psychological sense, and it demands a lot of effort. So, we do not want to look at our choice of work and the selection agency that executes it.
You must see what your deep needs are. Your work has to correspond to them. That’s the sole motive of all task. Otherwise, why should one work at all? A job has to be purposeful. The sole aim is to bring contentment and completeness to the incomplete psyche within.
Priority: How can anybody prioritise anything over the other? To know whether one thing is more important than the other, you have to know what is more foremost ‘for you’. If I am feeling cold, then a hot beverage becomes important; whereas, if it is all hot and humid, then I will want to sip something cold. What is good or important for me at any moment depends on my need.But what if I am totally out of touch with myself and do not know what my inner condition is? How will I prioritise and make any decision? We have very little self-awareness. We rarely observe ourselves fearlessly and honestly. We rarely spend time asking ourselves pointed questions. Therefore, we do not know what the inner situation is like.
Goal: If you choose a target that is not worthy enough, you will try a lot to concentrate on your aim, but will find that you get distracted after a while. That is not because the distractions are powerful; that is because your goal is powerless. The aim itself is a defence against inattentiveness.
Clarity makes the entire process of making a choice redundant. If you know who you are and what you want, if you have that clarity, why will you need to spend time thinking about the choice to make? So, priorities, choices and decisions in life become clear when you are in touch with your inner self. Then you have great clarity as to who you are and what you need.
So, you have to figure out what it is that your mind lacks. And your work has to be chosen such that it brings the required fulfilment. Then it will never feel alienated or bored. Pause, reflect, and take your time. Be open, alert and inquisitive. Life is precious. Time is not to be squandered in chasing unworthy goals.
Result: The work is beneficial, not the result of the work. Just the process of working itself is so beneficial, who is going to wait for the salary cheque? The joy from the work is instantaneous. You are not working to get some possible benefits in the future. Right in the middle of the action, you are deriving joy from it.
Where is the possibility of getting disturbed or deviated now?
Do what is worth doing. Failing is not a problem, provided you are failing at something worthwhile, and then failure would not mean so much to you. Equally, success too will not mean so much to you. It is the doing that will matter.
Decision-making: Inquiry is difficult and uncomfortable because the mind wants to come to quick conclusions. It doesn’t want to stay in a state of uncertainty and wants to certify to itself that its decisions are right or not. Whereas the facts of life are otherwise. They demand a rigorous inquiry and continuous attention. You cannot just label them as right or wrong in one go.
We also want to close the matter by saying, “We are confident that the final decision has been made, and that an irreversible certificate has been issued.” Life is not like that. You have to be continuously on the vigil and keep asking, “What is happening? Is it all right?” What is needed is deep observation and the honesty to acknowledge whatever you see.
You might be feeling that you have cracked a particular problem, but you must go through the solution again. “Have I really solved it? If I have, are the symptoms corresponding to a solution state? Why am I in such a hurry to seal the deal? Why do I want to say I have arrived?”
Acharya Prashant is a Vedanta teacher, author, and the founder of Prashant Advait Foundation