In the second part of ‘Why Don’t We Change’, I discussed the reasons why we fail to change ourselves. Among other reasons, one of the major reasons is the lack of these three qualities: determination, discipline and dedication.
Let’s understand their significance. But before that, we have to talk about why we need these qualities.
You know, there’s a gap between what we are right now and what we want to be. I think it’s true for everybody. We all are striving to be a better version of ourselves—physically, mentally, professionally, financially, spiritually and in every other way. We are always aspiring for higher states, and we should.
But, the reality is, for most of us, there’s a gap between our dreams and their accomplishment. As we work on ourselves, this gap reduces, and we move closer to our dreams. But the bridge that helps us reach our goals is the combined path of these three qualities.
In everything we want to achieve, the very first thing that we need is a strong determination. A firm resolve. The bigger or harder the goal to achieve, the more determined we have to be. It’s the commitment of your thoughts, emotions and energy to a singular purpose. Without determination, we’ll only harbour ‘hopes’. They will never become realities.
Think of Om Swami Ji—how determined he was to see the Goddess Herself. During his peak stages of sadhana, Swami Ji meditated for twenty-two hours at a stretch! That’s quite beyond human capabilities. But, he persisted. And as the blessing, he had the vision of the Divine Feminine. His determination paid off.
Okay, if that was extreme, think of Civil Service aspirants. Do you think those who crack the exam are merely smart or lucky? One works or would be able to work hard only when he is determined in his efforts. It is thought to be the toughest exam in India. Candidates prepare for years. Without determination can they persist like this?
So, determination is absolutely non-negotiable if we want to scale great heights.
Okay, maybe you are determined about your goal, but without a disciplined approach, your determination means nothing. See, to be determined means only to be committed to your purpose. But, commitment needs to be complemented by hard work and discipline.
To be disciplined means to do the right things at the right time, continually. The external version of it is the setting up of routines. Routines help to keep us on track. But, remember, it should not become mechanical.
Routine is a great way to build and sustain new productive habits; and in the process of actualizing your dreams, we have to break our unproductive and self-limiting habits and re-establish new and supporting ones. But, there’s a loophole too. Anything that becomes mechanical and repetitive can create feelings of repulsion towards that; because as a rule of thumb, our brains hate monotonous activity. We hate being caught up in the same patterns. So, don’t just set up routines, try to be inwardly disciplined. There’s a difference.
While following a routine, you try to practice your tasks exactly at the same time, for the same amount of time and in the same manner, in being disciplined you try to adhere to certain codes of conduct. For example, you commit to yourself: ‘I will never waste my time ‘, ‘I will be mindful of my path and practice’, ‘I will do what I am supposed to do at any rate’, ‘I will never give excuses to myself ‘ and so on. Are you getting the drift? If you are inwardly disciplined, if it’s become your quality, you don’t need routines; you glide through your duties.
And when you are advancing with your discipline, you have to be dedicated to your task. That is, you have to give it your time and energy—day in and day out; without excuses and complaints. To be dedicated means simply this: to devote all you’ve got to the task at hand, and never find ways to dodge your responsibility for any fear or weakness.
In fact, to be dedicated you have to beat your laziness, doubts, fears and weaknesses of all kinds. You also need to resist temptations and distractions. Because you are trying to be focused; you are really trying to accomplish your task with whole-heartedness. That’s dedication.
If you have the combination of all these three qualities, sooner or later, you’ll reach your goals. Yes, (in life) there are other factors also which may obstruct us in our paths, but difficulties and challenges are only motivating factors for a determined soul, no? With that said, let’s overcome our obstacles and script a new story for ourselves. We are the only limits!
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