In this Podcast, AVIS talks about living purposefully. He shares a learning he picked up from a friend who taught him that there is nothing to achieve in Life. This led AVIS to discover that the journey of Life itself is its reward.
Listen time: 5:34 minutes
Learning to be non-frustrated holds the key to intelligent living!
My friend from Nagpur commented on my blogpost of a few days ago saying he disagreed with my view that “our wishing alone cannot change our reality, our Life”. I have said this in so many blogposts, but let me elaborate, one more time, here. By championing acceptance, I am not suggesting that we resign to the situation. Acceptance does not mean inaction, it does not mean resignation. Acceptance is awareness of any current reality. It is the opposite of denial. Once you are accepting of a situation, you can decide what to do in it. But if you are running away from it, denying it, how can you ever expect to turn it around?
Important, acceptance teaches you to be non-frustrated with the outcomes of your efforts. Acceptance cannot solve your problems. It can only help you work in a focused and calm manner on your problem. But sometimes a problem may endure. Like in our case, for Vaani and me, it has been around for a decade now already. (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal) When a problem refuses to go away, despite your best efforts, acceptance helps you cope with it, without getting frustrated or depressed that you are not being rewarded for your intent, talent, integrity and hard work.
When I say, no matter what you do – or don’t do – whatever has to happen alone will happen, I am championing non-frustrated living. I am not saying sit back and resign to your fate. Living in the world, and yet being above it, as the Bhagavad Gita teaches, as the Bible teaches, does not mean inaction. It is a lot of action – when you learn to trust the process of Life by doing what you can do in a situation and leaving the outcomes, the results, to Life. To be sure, trusting the process of Life requires a lot faith and patience, it calls for integrity of Purpose and detached determination. It means ploughing on along the path unmindful of the terrain and the time it will take to get to where you must arrive. It means that you understand and celebrate Life’s biggest truth that, always, the journey is more important than the reward.
If you think deeply, the journey is the only reward!
We met a friend over coffee yesterday. He was curious to know why we curated free public events across the city regularly. He was one of our guests at the Heart of Matter – Happiness Conversations event last Saturday and his question is justified. He asked: “You didn’t make a naya paisa out of such a high quality event you developed and delivered. Why do you do what you do?” To be sure, we are often asked this question. So, we are never surprised.
For Vaani and me, our Life’s Purpose is Inspiring Happiness. My Book Fall Like A Rose Petal, my Fall Like A Rose Petal Talk , the public events we curate, this Blog that I write daily, the value we create for our clients through our Workplace Happiness Firm A V Initiatives, are all part of this journey of living our Purpose. Yes, we do try and monetize whatever we can, whenever an opportunity arises. But we also recognize that not everything in Life is about making money or about being successful in a worldly sense. So, we immerse ourselves in qualitative opportunities, that come our way, where we can inspire people to be happy despite their circumstances. We consider ourselves blessed to be useful even when we are unable to be successful, for the moment, with starting to repay our creditors, climbing out of our bankruptcy and becoming debt-free.
This paradigm shift to being useful, even when there is no money involved, versus always wanting to be successful, has been very rewarding and truly liberating. There’s great joy in simply doing what we love doing, without any sense of wanting to achieve something, to earn something or to prove something. Life is very simple, very beautiful, when you realize that it is the journey that is the reward.
I learnt this lesson way back from a close friend.
My friend is much older than I am; he’s 76. I will call him ABB. He’s the consummate networker, yet he’s a very genteel person – someone who goes out of his way to help people. He has served the Indian Air Force and post his voluntary retirement, he has been a very active member of the corporate circuit in Hyderabad. He’s been an office bearer of many an industry body or management association. And has been a champion of several voluntary causes in South India. I have known him for over 2 decades now. And he has always left me inspired with his energy and enthusiasm. Even so, he’s extremely modest about his achievements and truly believes that he’s just an ordinary person – which is why I have chosen not to name him, but have just used his initials, so as not to embarrass him. Once when I asked him, why he did so much with often no evident returns, he told me : “I am not looking at name or fame. If some work or request comes my way and I feel like doing it, I do it. I have nothing to prove, nothing to achieve, nothing to grab!”
I took away a profound learning from his simple expression: “Nothing to prove. Nothing to achieve. Nothing to grab!” The way we are conditioned – both by our upbringing and through social demands and pressures – we are always doing just the opposite. It is almost as if, if you are not driven, you are wasting your Life. And the word “driven” itself is misunderstood. It has come to mean – prove yourself through your feats, your achievements, your assets, your wealth, your estates. Whereas, we should have been driven by an urge to live fully, to enjoy and celebrate the gift of this lifetime. But in order to prove ourselves, we are postponing living all the time. Osho, the Master, explains the fallacy of living this way and champions living enlightened: “Enlightenment is not an achievement, it is an understanding that there is nothing to achieve, nowhere to go.” Beautiful!
The key to intelligent living lies in internalizing ABB’s and Osho’s philosophy. It means to live Life fully, doing whatever you can with whatever you have in each moment, not really worrying about what you are achieving. When you begin walking, often, the road unfolds on its own. When you let go and live, driven by the urge to live fully, and not by material goals, always, Life takes care of all that it has created. And that includes you – and me! When you realize that Life is not about achieving anything, but is about experiencing everything that comes your way, you can say you are awake, aware and enlightened!
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