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On Idols, Goals, Hardwork and Fulfillment || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
6 min
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Question: Sir, I want to know what does the word ‘Hard Work’ mean? Does it mean studying 16-18 hours a day?

Speaker: I go jogging in the morning and I don’t really enjoy it. It is lot of hard work for me. There is a colleague who goes along with me and has to keep pushing me all the time. When I play, be it Table Tennis, Cricket, or sometimes Soccer, I run around. I do not mind running around. I run around like a hare. Why?

Listener 1: Because you are not into it.

Speaker: If you are not into it, then the mind gives a lot of resistance, that resistance is called ‘Hard Work’. Hard work is not any physical action. Hard work is the resistance that the mind puts up. My mind puts up lots of resistance even when I am jogging mildly. It says, ‘What stupidity? Why are you jogging? It is so humid, go back and sleep.’ That is hard work. When your mind is playing all kinds of tricks and resisting what is happening, then it becomes hard work.

When your mind is not resisting, you do a lot of things, still it is not hard work. When your mind is supportive, when it is all in a smooth flow then a lot of work is happening and yet it is not hard work.

Listener 2: Sir, are idols or inspirations important?

Speaker: Why must you have an idol?

Listener 2: Is it important?

Speaker: You tell me. If I have an idol, I have an image. If I have an image, I will compare myself with that image. And then there will be right and wrong, strengths and weaknesses, I will want to have a personality, I will want to follow, then I will not be free to have my own path. I will want to follow somebody else’s path and all these things will be there. Is it good to have an idol, a role model? If you have a role model, an idol, then there will be complexes. ‘He could do so much, such a great man. I could not do much, I am a small man.’

Listener 3: Are there any positives of society?

Speaker: You have to live your life. What does society has to do with it? Will the society die along with you? Was the society born along with you? When you suffer, does the society suffer? When you breathe, does the society breathe? You have to live your life.

Listener 4: Sir, we should do what we are good at, or what we are.

Speaker: Being good at something is just a skill. When you say that I am good at something, you are talking about a particular skill. Skills can be acquired. Love cannot be acquired. You get the answer now? Mountains attract me. I can acquire the skill of mountaineering, climbing mountains. I can acquire that skill.

Listener 5: How do I know that I am happy doing something or the other?

Speaker: When you drink water, how do you know that your thirst is quenched? You just know. How do you know when you are sad? You are sad and you know. Similarly you will know when you will be fulfilled. You will know.

Listener 6: Sir, you were saying about studying at night as hard work. I am not ready to do it but still it is necessary to study. And my mind keeps saying, ‘skip this, skip that’. How to overcome that thing?

Speaker: That is why when she asked that is it important to have goals, I said ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. There will be situations when you will need to push yourself. For example, I enjoy this moment of being with you but I do not enjoy travelling. So, to travel, I need to have some will power. To get up in the morning, I need to have a goal. So, yes. If there are situations where you must push yourself, push yourself. But then see how many such situations you are pushing yourself into. These situations must remain at the periphery of life. These should not become central. I love to paint but it may be a pain to go and purchase a paint, a canvas and a brush. For that you may need to push yourself to go to the market and get all these things. So it is alright to push yourself because once you have them, you can joyfully paint. It is alright. You love somebody, you want to meet him. For that you need to get your reservation done. And you know how that railway booking website works. Sluggish. There is the pain, yet you will take that pain. So that you may meet that fellow.

Listener 7: Should we compromise our happiness or moral values for success?

Speaker: There are three-four different words that you have used. ‘Compromise’, ‘happiness’, ‘success’, ‘moral values’. All of these words require separate attention. Question of compromise arises only when there is success. Is success different from happiness? We have discussed so much today. Living in the present joyfully is success. If living in the present joyfully is success, then are these two different things? Happiness and success? Happiness is success. Success is happiness. How can you give up happiness for success? If you give up happiness, what remains? How can you be successful then? Happiness is success. They are not different.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

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