I was drafting a response in my head for this question and realized it might as well be a post considering the number of points I wanted to cover.

A couple of months back, my maternal uncle paid me a compliment saying he liked my mature approach to things.  I thanked him but said it’s probably just the age catching up on me.  He laughed and said that its not necessary as he has seen a lot of people even older but still have a long way to go. 

It is true that we have our own learning curve on which we travel.  There are so many factors that influence how we grow as individuals, both personally and professionally.  

I also thought, is it possible to measure the level of growth in a realistic manner?  Perhaps we can observe the quality and impact of their decisions and actions.  Successful people are able to influence at a massive scale and bring about real transformation.  But then, we are mostly able to judge with the benefit of hindsight, not necessarily when they are going through the process.  People with such abilities are often considered misfits and their contributions are widely recognized once they have accomplished their mission.

Swamiji has said that this world is ‘achintya’ i.e., beyond comprehension.  As humanity learns and evolves, it is not clear if we ever figure out everything that is there to know in this vast universe 😊

Is one lifetime, as we know it, today enough to achieve that level of knowledge or wisdom?  Are people who are able to surrender to the divine in a better position than those are always trying to understand the ever evolving and complex nature of the world, we live in?

At work, often people wonder how certain people have grown in their careers and what made them click.  Similarly, we find people prioritize and lead a happy and fulfilling life while some aren’t able to do that.  While, there are many factors influencing it, I’m sharing these based on my experience. 

I do believe that past life karmas have a direct influence on where we are born and the circumstances that we inherit.  The tendencies ingrained in our subconscious drive our behavior, which ultimately seals our fate.  However, I will stick to aspects of which I have first-hand experience and knowledge.

Learning from mistakes and not repeating it

As a child, my mind used to invariably get stuck to the bad experiences and replay them many times over.  Most often, I looked lost as my mind used to wander and not let me be in peace.  It used to bother me a lot but I couldn’t share it with anyone.  Though I think it helped me to keep away from bad company and avoid repeating those mistakes.

When I grew up, this changed in to something different and beneficial.  As I contemplated on issues more, I started gaining deeper insights and better memory.  Which in turn led to better decision making. To succeed, it is essential that we learn from the mistakes, made by others and our own.  Then try not to repeat it by retaining the lesson or looking for better solutions.

Being truthful and connecting the dots

When I was studying for my management accounting qualification, connecting the dots was considered paramount for success in the examination.  I’ve added being truthful to this as many people tend to unconsciously convince themselves that they are not the cause of the problem.  Such denial is not only detrimental to spiritual growth but also hurts in the long run as our mind fails to register a mistake.  Admitting when we’ve done wrong and considering different perspectives helps us to connect the dots.  It dawns on us how a change in our thought, speech and actions could lead to better outcomes.  They align themselves and we are able to see the bigger picture and change our behavior.  People tend to notice these changes in us and our words have a better impact.

Influence of family, books, and mentors

This has been my unfailing experience.  My mother used to tell me to stay in the company of bright students at school and try to learn from them.   Books have shaped my thoughts, helped me enhance my soft skills, and look at things from a different perspective.  Books have the distilled wisdom of the authors and we receive mentorship without ever meeting the authors.

When I was in college, it was my belief that I was in no way like my parents.  But then as I’ve aged, it has been my realization that I am every bit like my parents.  It is in the genes or just living with them all the time has kept them as one of the top five people in my life. 

I’ve had great mentors at work, who were kind to me by generously sharing knowledge and wisdom.  Any professional could vouch for the value of having the right guidance from an experienced, knowledgeable, and accomplished mentor.  Many times unknowingly, we idolize them and start becoming a mini version of the people we look up to.

Making use of opportunities

Having capability and training is one thing but delivering on potential is a different ballgame.  It is not easy to figure out everything on our own and I believe most people are muddling through their paths.  Being sincere and hard working will help us to stay on course and a solution will emerge.  People who are able to take risks and deal with ambiguous situations effectively grow in to leadership positions.  Achieving success in one area gives them the necessary confidence to take up more challenging assignments and keep delivering value.  Such people tend to attract opportunities and work methodically in conquering challenges.  They are able to prioritize and know which battles or opportunities to choose and achieve desired results.  Not recognizing opportunities can also delay our growth.  

Being kind and divine grace

I believe that if we are kind and giving, the providence takes care of us in many ways that we can’t even comprehend.  Helping and coaching other people is an immensely rewarding experience.  It improves self esteem and brings joy to our being in ways that inspire us to keep improving.  It has been my experience that kindness protects us and builds a reputation that is conducive to our growth.

In the book of kindness, Swamiji has shared how kindness can transform us and help us lead happy and fulfilling lives.  It is our inherent nature and is essential for spiritual growth.  With this, whether we figure things out and become successful, I am not sure.  But I value kind people much more than the successful people as they are a reflection of the divine. 

To conclude, figuring things out is a never ending journey and is subject to improvement.  It might serve us well to enjoy the process and help others on the way?