Please bless me so I may succeed in my business. I want to make a lot of money but not for me! I want to build wealth to help other people.
Have you heard people tell you that the only reason, or the primary reason, they want to do build a business or earn money is so they may help others? I have. Numerous times. It always makes me chuckle because sustainable businesses are not built with the intention to help others. They are built with the intention to add value to the lives of those buying [or using] your goods or services. From such value, you generate income which you may then utilize to help others. Generating value through your offering has to be the chief intention of every business or it has no hope of ever becoming profitable.
A business can only survive if it makes a profit. Profitable and manageable growth is the only dharma of a commercial venture. Surely, a socially responsible business may run programs to help the society but any of that is only possible if it generates income to begin with. Besides, if your primary driving force is to help people, you shouldn’t be looking at building a business but realizing a vision. Anyhow, my focus today is not building businesses and the rest. Instead, it is to share with you an extremely important insight into the anatomy of success, whatever be your goal — material or spiritual.
No matter what you undertake, if you want to succeed, you have to acquire the most fundamental ingredient of success and that is: purity of intention. If your intention is pure, you will gain determination and inner strength naturally. The universe will align other resources for you, you will taste success. By purity of intention, I’m not at all alluding to any notion of nobility or morality. Principles of morality differ from culture to culture. When I say pure intention, I’m not referring to any religious or moral values. Those virtues are needed for different reasons. In the current context, by purity of intention, I simply mean that you be true to your cause, that you are honest with yourself.
For example, if a medical student is aspiring to become a doctor, purity of intention requires that his/her sole focus is on learning as much as they can and passing the exam with the best score they can. The moment you start talking about treating the poor as your primary intention, you are no longer true to yourself. Unless that is your real motivation (which is quite possible, though rare) and you actually start living in a village to provide medical aid.
But, if you dream of having the luxuries of life and live in a glamorous city then you couldn’t possibly be serious about treating the poor. And here’s the important point: it’s perfectly fine to want the luxuries of life, that doesn’t make you a lesser human being, but if that’s what you want then be clear about it. Make that your intention. Don’t mix the two. Once you become a doctor and start practicing in the world’s most expensive city, you may still do a lot of good. That is beside the point though. For, to get there at the first place, you’ll need to have a pure intention and singular focus.
An old church was badly in need of repairs. The cost of renovation was estimated at $100,000 but no one showed much inclination to participate in the project. At the conclusion of the Sunday Mass, the pastor announced to a hall full of members, “I’ve a good news and a bad news. Which one do you want first?”
“We could do with some good news!” the majority said.
“Well then,” the pastor spoke excitedly, “the good news is that we’ve got the $100k needed to renovate the church!”
The announcement received a thunderous applause.
“Now, the bad news, ladies and gentlemen,” he said, drawing himself closer to the mic. “That money is still in your pockets.”
Any resources we require to do anything at all in life are already there in the universe in one way or the other. It’s the purity of intention that brings those resources together. If you are not confused about what you want and your actions align with your intention, you are well on your way to success.
Sometimes an aspiring entrepreneur will come and tell me that he just wants to build a business so he may employ people and help them. If that’s your real intention then why build a business? Become a recruitment consultant instead. You’ll help more people in finding better jobs. You decide what is more important to you, a. to buy that car you fancy or that home you dream about by building a profitable business or b. to actually help people.
If it’s the latter, trust me, you don’t need to acquire wealth. You just have to source the resources that are already there. Our world is full of so many beautiful people whose generosity knows no bounds. I say this from my direct experience, I meet such people on a regular basis. They are keen to help, to participate in social causes and so on. If you really want to help, you’ll find plenty who will join you on the path.
The other day, someone shared a short video with me. This video is under 3 minutes and features a man who is better than most preachers, swamis (including myself), priests and gurus. I saw the video and thought here was someone who was actually committed to a cause. In our world where political parties are fighting over votes, nations over territories, religious leaders over beliefs, here is a man who is on the ground and helping, someone who’s living the truth and not merely talking about it or writing books (or posts, if you see what I mean) on it.
I don’t recall ever sharing a video in my posts (except my own discourses in the very early days) but this one video I felt I had to share with you. For those of you who see me as a saint, here’s a greater saint in the video, a better monk, the kind our world really needs today. Those of you who come to me seeking how to walk the spiritual path, I would say learning from the man in the video will lead to a better you and a better society than following me per se. What you see is applied spirituality in action. Sadhana starts with service, it certainly ends with it.
The greatest learning I see in the video is that for someone whose intention is pure, who is sincere in his/her endeavor, nothing is a barrier. I’m not suggesting that poverty is the way to service. Just that a lack of wealth is never the real hurdle when your motivation is singular.
Be clear about what you care about. And what you really care about is what your real intention is. If you stay true to your real intent, it will help you make better choices. Anytime you have to make a decision, simply examine your intention and you will know which way to move. Be honest about it. All is possible then. Almost.