I once read somewhere: nothing motivates like success. It is often the desire to succeed, to derive joy from the attainment of a goal, and the benefits from such an achievement that drive individuals to persist and persevere, to toil and tolerate. As a race, we are designed to feel motivated by thinking about the end result.

You tell someone they are hired for a job paying them one hundred grand a year and they immediately start visualizing saving or spending that money, they start planning, they start imagining themselves in the office, speaking to co-workers and the rest of it. It is natural. Steadily, these thoughts become part of one’s expectations. If what they thought varies greatly from what they actually get, they are disappointed. They set a goal for themselves, the next target, and they give themselves a time frame. So far, so good.

Whenever embarking on a new venture, though, the primary difference between success and failure is the motivation to persist, to stay motivated.

A winner chooses to carry on. When people ask me questions about meditation, changing their habits, self-realization, and so forth, the one common question I get is: How long will it take? This is my focus today. Let me share a little story with you.

An elderly monk was en route to an ancient temple in the mountains. Traveling on foot, he had been on this pilgrimage for nearly two months now. In the spirit of a monk, he carried with him no possessions except his alms bowl and a set of robes. He would simply stop whenever he felt like resting and beg for food whenever he was hungry.
One step at a time, he traveled over two thousand kilometers. Finally, the tall mountain with a temple like a crown on its head was visible from a distance. A feeling of relief, a surge of joy, a sense of accomplishment rose up his spine.

A further few steps and he saw an old woman working in the fields. He stopped and asked, “How long will it take me to reach the temple at the top of the mountain?”

The old woman turned around to face him, gave him an indifferent stare, shrugged, and went back to sowing the seeds in the ground. The monk thought it was highly unusual because he knew most villagers to be warm people. Perhaps the woman did not hear, he thought. Pointing in the direction of the temple, he repeated, “How long will it take me to reach that shrine?”

The woman gave the same reaction again; this time, she softly growled too. The monk asked his question one more time only to get the same response. He concluded that the old woman was deaf. A little disappointed, he resumed walking towards the mountain.

“It’ll take you eight hours,” a voice yelled from behind. It was the old woman.
Intrigued, the monk walked back to her and said, “I don’t get it. I asked you three times, and you did not answer me. Now that I was on my way, you called me from behind to tell me the distance.”
“I’m not telling you the distance, Master. I’m simply telling you how long it will take you,” she spoke. “When you asked me earlier, you were standing still. How could I have answered your question without knowing how fast you walk! As for the distance, from here, it’s a trek of twenty miles.”

There you are! There is no absolute answer to how long it will take you. It depends on multiple factors, and your pace is only one of them. More often than not, it is just about staying the course, persisting and staying motivated. We all know the hare and the tortoise classic.

There are essentially four elements that lead to success. They are:
1. Knowledge: Are you well-equipped? Mentally and skill-wise? If not, what do you need to do to acquire it?
2. Approach: Do you have the right mindset and approach? Are you positive, optimistic, ready, flexible? Can you keep yourself motivated? 
3. Resources: Do you have the right tools and resources, or are you trying to drill a hole in the wall with a spoon?
4. Effort: Are you putting your best foot forward no matter what?

There is a fifth element. You can call it grace, fate, luck, destiny, or anything else you wish. This one manifests when you do not waver. It may appear like a coincidence, a stint of luck or serendipity, but the truth is with the four elements above, you create that perfect moment of realization, of attainment.

Steady and small steps turn into giant strides and leaps ultimately. Tiny drops of water, one after the other, create a waterfall. Buddha did not gain enlightenment just because he sat under the Bodhi tree; he slogged for years before the arrival of that perfect moment. All that learning and struggle culminated in manifesting the moment of revelation, of epiphany, before prince Gautama became Buddha.

Go on! Give it your best shot. You should be able to look in the mirror and say, “I gave it my best shot, and I tried everything I possibly could.” When you can say that to yourself honestly, you can have your wildest dreams come true, from material success to divine realization.


Editorial Note



Art of Meditation

Free yourself from suffering and live life to the fullest. Learn the yogic technique of meditation in 4 days (and master it over a lifetime)

Learn More...

All of us want to know how to be successful in life, but we sometimes lack the right tools or traits. The questions below provide an insight into these traits and how creating the steps to success is entirely in our hands.

When we envision how to be successful in life, what are some traits we can develop?

If you say, I can’t do it, you are right already. But, if you ask, how can I do it, at least your mind will shift from denial to a thinking mode. And, all is possible when the human mind begins to pursue a line of thought. People who create opportunities approach things differently; their steps to success are different. Really, it’s that simple.

How to be successful in life, steps to success

In some way, people who succeed at anything in life are not usually sane. I say this appreciatively. There are four insanities they live and breathe. I call it the EPIC model.
Read more here.

What is the single most important trait to develop so that we may learn how to be successful in our professional life?

Seriously, what is it really that makes some people wildly successful? Honesty? Yeah, right. (I wish.) Their steps to success? Maybe luck, access to resources, opportunities, dedication, hard work, and so forth play an important role. But then again, there are many hardworking people who have the same resources and opportunities as many others and yet they live from one day to another.

How to be successful in life, steps to success

So, what is the one thing you find in all the successful people? What I have observed after meeting so many is that each one of them does indeed possess a special common trait. It’s a quality anyone can gain and cultivate.
Read more here.

How do you keep yourself motivated to achieve success?

How to be successful in life, steps to successThe most important thing about goals is that you must genuinely believe in them. If you are persistent, your chances of ending up in the right place at the right time go up significantly. The probability of miracles in your life goes up and fortune starts to favor you. Be patient and persistent. Be determined and disciplined. Results will certainly come through.

Evaluate your goals and realign if necessary. Achieving each goal requires time and effort. If you can be infinitely patient and eternally persistent, you can attain even the most extraordinary goals. If you want to know as well as experience how to be successful in life, read more here.


There were four members in a household. Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. A bill was overdue. Everybody thought Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it but Nobody did it.
Don't leave empty-handed, consider contributing.
It's a good thing to do today.

Support Om Swami

Honor payment on os.me

P.S. The charge will appear as *Vedic Sadhana