What motivates us to produce the desired outcome and superior results?
Here is the small story, somewhat based on my own experience
Two men were fishing on a river bank. None of them could catch a single fish for a long time.
The first man got up and winded up his fishing harness. The other man however continued.
The first gentleman turned to the second man and said, “Hey, I think, you can also stop, there is no point. Let’s try it some other day.”
The first man smiled and said, “Friend, it’s a different story for me. It’s no longer my hobby but is my food and earning.
I have to catch one or two fish before I go home to feed my family. I have to stay!”
To produce results we certainly need two things. First, is the strength of motivation, and the other, is the ability to stay and put effort.
The efforts could be intellectual, mental, or physical.
Missing any one of the two elements, simply won’t produce the results.
In the first place, the motivating factor is always external to us. It can come in our way in the form of true inspiration, fierce competition, a teacher’s command, a big idea or known past record.
Usain Bolt, broke his own record in the 100m run in World’s Athlete Championship in the year 2009 by eleven hundredth of a second, to set a new world record.
As it happens, the motivators need not always be positive and attractive. They can take the nasty form of tough challenges, stringent requirements, adverse conditions, acute scarcity of resources etc. In any case, they do their job
in compelling us to take action and put effort.
There is something interesting to note when we put effort as the next step. Here are some simple scientific facts
- It takes 100 degree celcius temperature to start boiling water (at atmospheric pressure)
- We need a minimum threshold for aircraft speed to take off, called stall speed
- A baby need a minimum threshold of time to balance on a single feet to walk the first step of life.
- Plants need a minimum threshold value of moisture ratio (called Permanent Wilting Point) in the soil to grow.
I am quoting these examples to convey that there exists a minimum threshold to be overcome to achieve the results.
A single bit of lower value than the threshold won’t produce even a fraction of the results. We don’t get to fly half the altitude in the skies, at half the stall speed! This sounds like a law in science but it is more than obvious in our own everyday experiences.
This threshold demands us to be persistent and compels us to stay to continue our efforts. It makes us sometimes uncomfortable.
In the book ‘Eat That Frog’ by author Brian Tracy, readers are advised to eat the most ugly frog. It means that we take up the most difficult challenge in our to-do list every morning to achieve brilliant results.
We are free to eat those ugly frogs and produce results. However, I wonder, for someone, it may still be seen as an unpleasant activity inducing stress, agony, and frustration. In essence, We need to produce great results but the course of action makes us uncomfortable which fades out the motivation itself.
The next best thing is then to make the process itself enjoyable and easygoing. It’s like singing a song while fishing, or taking colorful notes during studying, or celebrating small wins during executing a project. How do we do this?
To our great fortune, Verse 30, Chapter 3 in Shrimad Bhagavadgita aptly summarizes the technique for resolving this internal conflict.
The same conflict even a warrior like Arjuna faced amidst the battlefield of the Mahabharata. He lost all motivation to fight the battle, when it was his primary duty.
The following verse and its meaning is taken from here
मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा |
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वर: || 30||
Performing all works as an offering unto me, constantly meditate on me as the Supreme.
Become free from desire and selfishness, and with your mental grief departed, fight!
In Chapter 3 of Bhagavadgita Lord Krishna explains in detail, the concept of duty, detachment, and surrender.
This is the path of Karma Yoga, prescribed to surrender and offer the fruits of our action at the feet of supreme lord. This is the way to rejoice in actions while performing the duties. The results are bound to appear, as for every cause the effect or results are inevitable.
This is direct knowledge shared and a promise made by Lord Krishna himself with strong conviction.
If not the world record, these principles will certainly help us to break our own record!
May Lord Krisha bless all of us in accomplishing our endeavors – joyfully. Jai Shri Krishna!