Swamiji made the following profound statement in one of His discourses:
“The only thing I knew and the only thing I know even now, is NOT GIVE UP! The only thing I know is ‘don’t give up’! I have never left any task half-done which I started! ….”
This brings me to the second rule/principle I have set up for myself! (In my earlier blog (link), I wrote about setting five principles or rules for myself to lead an effective life.)
If I could have followed this principle earlier, I would not have left numerous projects half-done in my past, and I could have stayed at a different platform today-both professionally and spiritually! Anyway, things could still change for better!
Hurdles in excellence!
Over the years, I have realised that to remain happy or to feel contented, it is extremely important to have a productive day (again, confirmed by Swamiji!). Now, the definition of a productive day may vary from person to person. For me, it is crucial to have a good day at my work place. I suppose, it is same for most of the creative people. In my profession, being an academician, I have to do teaching and carry out research works. And I want to do that to the best of my abilities! But it is not easy if you want to push yourself beyond the routine stuffs!
If we want to have creative satisfaction, one day we must have to do more difficult, challenging or involved projects. Doing easy things all the time will simply make one mediocre or average! If you are serious to achieve excellence at something, you must have to do and try more involved tasks/projects related to that goal. Whatever be the profession, excellence is always measured in deliverance of difficult and daunting tasks where enormous skills and character is needed!
The main culprit, almost always, is the distracted and defocused mind! Because the mind is not ready for challenges, it loves indulgence in petty things! Followings are the kind of obstacles we encounter at our work place or mostly we create for ourselves:
- You take up a difficult project or task to carry out, say a research work or any creative task for that matter. Initially you start with great enthusiasm. But as times go on, you discover that many new skills and techniques need to be learnt to crack the job. You begin, but get tired or lose patience as you encounter more and more challenges on the path! Your mind says, relax! You can do it later. Go and have a cup of tea or have some fun or better, do some easier tasks!
- Many a times, when the going gets difficult, you decide, I will pick up the project at a later time! Let me surf Internet for some news. You go to some news-portal or YouTube channel! Your eminent downfall for the day begins! As you went on reading the news articles, you go from this link to that link, without realising that you have wasted the whole day! You promise that, you will begin freshly tomorrow!
- Greed! Trying to accomplish too many things at the same time is another major obstacle. It’s akin to multi-tasking. The mind gets confused and distracted easily, apart from getting hugely stressed out, if too many goals/tasks are taken. You end up doing nothing perfectly. It makes us very weak and we end up doing only mediocre jobs/tasks. We never get to know or explore the enormous potential hidden inside us!
Above are only a few examples. The mind is clever to find numerous novel and beautiful excuses! In reality, this is the story of a good number of people, including me! Even in other sectors of their life, they exhibit similar habits! For example, they pick up a book to read, but seldom completes it! They pick up a spiritual Sadhana, say Mantra chanting for these many number of days, but give it up midway! Where is the problem? I think it is due to the absence of patience and discipline. And mainly, owing to the lack of a principle in life, as put by Swamiji numerous times- link1, link2!
How to set up a principle?
The principle should not be a vague one! A very clear, well defined what to do principle can save the day! First of all, we must find out the factors that distract us in achieving our full potential. I mean, list out all that discourages or forbids us to be persistent in our efforts to learn new skills or doing the needfuls. If I say, ‘Walk daily’, that is going to be pretty vague! But if I also write down what exactly to be done, then the mind will not get a chance to think anything else. If you read my previous blog, you will understand it better. In fact, I am implementing Rule 1 pretty successfully till date and it has become my habit.
So, rule 2 is as follows!
Finish what is started! Once a task or a project (whatever it may be) is taken, never leave it half-done!
I am sure if I follow this rule literally, it would bring rapid and drastic changes in all sectors of my life. (I believe the same to happen with all the readers! Thats why I am writing this blog in the first place!) In particular, I would be able to have a productive day each time!
Each profession has different requirements. However, one of the tasks might be useful to every profession: to update or upgrade by studying a relevant book within a certain interval of time! For example, I have given to myself the task that, in every three weeks, I shall complete a new book related to my profession to update or upgrade my skills! And finishing a task with full sincerity is at the core of anything and everything I do. Be it a Sadhana or a task at work place!
How to implement the rule?
- It is extremely important to be careful and mindful before a project or a task is picked up! Because, once I pick up a task or project, I must finish it- come what may! As a rule, no task will be left half-done, whatever it may be!
- Maintain a notebook or a word document to record the list of tasks or projects undertaken. A table with columns having: S.N., Task description, starting day, completion day and comments etc. may be useful. When you put the completion day against a particular task, it’s sure to give you immense joy!
- Enlist certain tasks that must be done each day without fail, to qualify to have a productive day!
- Also, enlist certain don’ts! For example, during office hours, surfing Internet for news, unnecessary WhatsApp etc. should be completely banned! And no gossip! In a nutshell, don’t waste time!
- Break a task/project into many small components. And then take the approach of handling one bird at a time and promise to avoid multi-tasking.
Finally, if we could do everything in the following devotional sentiment constantly, we may be able to attain new dimensions in our consciousness! This would be my ultimate aspiration in this life! Swamiji’s grace is needed, without which its an impossible task for me!
Prātarūt’thaya sāyāhnaṁ sāyāhanāt prātarēva tu,
Yatkrōmi jaganmātastadēva tava pūjanam.
From the moment I wake up at dawn till dusk, and from dusk till dawn,
O Mother Divine, everything I do is an act of your worship.
(Kundalini: an untold story)