The Bhagavad Gita is generally not associated with success, expertise in action or dynamism. Yet it presents the blueprint to not just material prosperity but happiness and growth to one’s potential. When the rest of the world was still in the dark ages the wise Indian had discovered the formula for Excellence. The focus shifted from external conquests to internal victory. The catchphrase was—Conquer the mind and you will conquer the world!
An essential aspect of excellence is serenity of mind. When the mind is calm, the intellect is sharp and action brilliant. When the mind is agitated, you are unable to access your own knowledge, the thinking gets deviated and action flawed. The ancient Indian philosophers approached the situation scientifically. They examined what disturbed the mind. They found that thought of self was the culprit. A singer sings the wrong note when thought of self comes in the way. A job aspirant flounders at the interview when he’s obsessed with himself. A chef makes errors not due to lack of expertise but because of anxiety to please his guests!
Thus, excellence was not the exclusive privilege of only a select few. Everyone had privy to it—from the highest, most gifted, to the lowest, least endowed. All you had to do was master the technique of equanimity of mind. Do you feel deprived or blessed? Are you driven by deficiency motivation, the desire to acquire things that you do not have? Then you are unenthusiastic. You go through the motions of your job with boredom and disgust. This leads to failure and frustration. When you are deeply aware of the abundance that has been gifted to you, you develop the irresistible urge to give, contribute, add value to people. You become creative, motivated and successful. Abundance is a state of mind, unconnected with material assets. Sudama was a pauper but always felt abundant. The richest man may feel deprived!
Identify your passion, talent, gift. Fix a higher goal in that field. Work in a spirit of service and sacrifice for the ideal. Selfish action leads to mediocrity. All successful people worked unselfishly for a larger cause. Don Bradman did not play cricket for selfish ends. Mozart composed music for the sheer love of it. Einstein was dedicated to physics. When your attention shifts from the world to the Beyond, you perform selfless action. You neither work for a selfish end nor are you motivated to work for anything in the world. Tansen was a great musician in the court of the Mughal king, Akbar. Akbar wanted to listen to Tansen’s guru so they went to the village in which the guru lived. Swami Haridas was singing in the temple. Akbar was enthralled by the performance and asked Tansen what the difference between them was. Tansen replied, “I sing for you. He sings for God!”
Centuries before Six Sigma, Vedanta prescribed a six-point path to success in the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, Verse 30. It consists of two aspects—creating energy and plugging the dissipation of energy.
Focus: The intellect, the discriminating faculty in you, directs all activities to the achievement of the goal. All energy—light, wind or water—gains power when it is unidirectional. When thoughts are focused on one goal, they gain power. The same thoughts meandering in different directions lose power.
Surrender: Intellectual focus must be backed by emotional support, loyalty, devotion. Then the power of the goal resides in you. Mahatma Gandhi had surrendered to the nation. The power of 300 million Indians was with him. The higher the goal, the greater is the energy created.Action: The body must act dedicatedly towards the ideal. The more you act the more energy you create. An athlete has unbelievable energy. A couch potato lacks energy. Include a daily slot for exercise in your life.
Energy is wasted in three ways—worry over the past, anxiety for the future and frenzy in the present. The intellect must focus the mind on the present action and not allow the mind to meander into wasteful avenues of the past and future. A batsman at 90 thinks of past misses and future 100. He gets clean bowled!
However talented you may be, you cannot achieve success by yourself. Build strong teams. Feel one with your team members. View them as partners, not opponents. Shivaji, the great Maratha ruler, singlehandedly held the Mughals at bay in spite of limited resources and manpower because he had loyal troops. When the Mughals had captured a strategic fort near Pune, Shivaji called his trusted lieutenant Tanaji. Tanaji won the fort but lost his life in the battle. Shivaji was heartbroken and said—we got the fort but lost the lion. Since then the fort was named after Tanaji!
When you gain success, remember it is transient and temporary. It will go some day. Enjoy it as long as it lasts but do not depend on it. Build inner reserves that will stand by you in times of calamities. When things go, as they must, you will not be shattered or heartbroken.
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