What’s Stopping You?
An Enquiry Into Our Failures
We all face this problem: we want to change, but we fail. Do you also have this problem? At least, I do. I want to change, but I fail again and again. I keep trying…but I keep failing as well. I can’t remain steady, I am still wavering in my commitments.
I think, we all have the same story. So, today, I thought, why not go into this problem and understand: why we don’t change, what are the reasons behind this?
What’s Stopping Us?
It’s not that we don’t want to change. Most of us do want. But we repeatedly fail. So let’s go into this today.
We all desire to change, to be a better version of ourselves. And often we even know how to change ourselves. Often we have all the knowledge. But still we fail.
Those who want to change themselves, but don’t have the necessary knowledge or understanding, will keep failing. That’s obvious. They should get the knowledge first.
But I am talking about those who do know what they should do to be the person of their dreams, yet fail to achieve that state. I admit, I am one of those. Those who know what to do and even the way to do it, still fail to deliver on their commitments, in Bengali, are sarcastically referred to as ‘gyan-paapi’, i.e. ‘knowledgeable sinner’.
People who don’t know what they should do and how to do it can be excused. Because they don’t know. But people like me who have enough knowledge of their faults and hubris, but still fail to demonstrate that in reality…leave the society, they cannot forgive themselves. They suffer because of self-guilt.
I know this feeling too well. So I know what it feels like to be a knowledgeable sinner. This article is especially for those who know their cracks in their boats, but still they can’t save themselves. This article is an enquiry into how we can come out from our ruts.
Well, everybody is different. Everyone has unique problems and reasons as to why they fail. But there are somethings which are common to all of us.
◊ The Clarity of Vision: I think, the greatest reason behind our failures in any field is the lack of clarity in our visions. If there is no vision in us as to at what state we want to see ourselves, we would never reach that state for sur. Most people don’t have any clear vision as to what they want to do in life, and even if they know, that vision is so thin and filmy that it doesn’t have any substance. Here is something about mind:
If the vision is not clear, it seems uninteresting and distant to our minds. Mind says, ‘what’s so great about it?’ That’s why most people fail.
The clearer the vision is, the stronger will be the intensity to achieve it.
◊ The Lack of Discipline: Along with the clarity of vision, what’s absolutely non-negotiable is a disciplined approach. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! You need discipline to make your dreams into reality. In fact, discipline is the bridge between them. Without discipline nothing great can be achieved and no great transformation is possible. It’s absolutely uncompromisable.
But, we are what we are. This is where we become gyan-paapi. We know this too well. But it’s a struggle in itself to be disciplined, isn’t it? There are those who keep procrastinating. Procrastinators can never be achievers! Most people actually try. But the problem with most of us is, we can’t sustain our efforts, we keep going astray.
What is leading us astray? Obviously the world is there with all its temptations and distractions. But even within us, there are innumerable hurdles—restless thoughts, choppy emotions, irresistible desires, irrational fears and that demon of doubt!
These are more powerful enemies than the world’s distractions. And frequently we keep doubting our paths, our intentions and purposes. A doubting mind can’t go anywhere! We should instead have a questioning mind, we should question. There’s a difference between questioning and doubting. I will not go into this presently. I hope you understand this.
To be disciplined, we have to deal with both of these worlds— external and internal. This is a great struggle in itself. How to be disciplined?— I am leaving this question for another time.
But discipline is a must!
◊ Habits: The next great hurdle that comes between us and our visions is the habit structure. We all are slaves to our habits. Our bodies, minds, emotions and energies—they all go through habitual patterns. Our bodies have their own habits of sleeping, eating, enjoying, working etc. We think and feel in particular ways. We behave in particular ways. Our desires come to us habitually. We experience the same emotions periodically and so on.
We all are ‘caged’ in our ‘comfort zones’. These comfort zones are nothing but habit patterns. Habits give birth to comfort zones. One who wishes to do something with his body or mind or with his very life has to change their habits, because as long as he remains in his comfort zone, he is not going to grow.
Now, it’s easier said than done, I know. But if there is enough reason to change, we will break our habits anyway, no matter how strong the habits are. And this is where the role of desire becomes paramount.
◊ A Burning Desire: The last ingredient to make our success-recipe complete is a living burning desire. A desire that burns so intensely that all other unsupporting desires automatically turn to ash.
Desires are not inherently bad. It’s only that our desires drown us, instead of taking us to our heights. There are desires…the end goal of which is only to enjoy, to have pleasure. These desires drown us. We have to shun them. There are desires that catapults us to greater heights—we must strengthen them. Find out the ways in which those desires get strengthened. That’s all.
For example, maybe you aspire for god-realization. Now to strengthen your desire you can plunge into swadhyay (study about the self), get the guidance of a living guru, attend satsangs of holy men, spend time with elevated souls and so on. These are the sure-shot ways of infusing inspiration into our hearts. This is not just about spirituality, this is true in every field.
This burning desire is like the fire in the stove. You have everything to make food, but if you don’t have the fire, then what!
And I find, this tops my list as to why we fail. We are not burning intensely. Most of us are just flickering, at most at ember- temperature, but not raging fire.
This intensity determines how far we’ll go and how much we’ll achieve. Keep the fire burning intensely.
There may be other reasons. But these are common to all of us. Don’t be stuck in that rut! Anyway, a time will come when you’ll say—enough is enough! But why wait till day. Who knows how much time is left in the pages of our lives. So, get up. Brush up your visions, make it crystal clear. Be disciplined. Stay committed, no matter what. Change your habits. And above all, burn! Burn so great that everyone’s jaw drops from their mouths! Just imagine that scene!
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