We perform actions continuously throughout our lives. Actions are an expression of the flow and movement of life itself.
Understanding the inevitability of actions, and with a sincere desire to help us reach our highest potential, the spiritual masters of Vedanta formulated some principles of action to guide us.
If we follow them, we will gain the highest rewards – peace of mind, joy in life and spiritual growth. Although these are intangible rewards, doing actions in the right way also increases our efficiency and therefore, our chances of material success.
The success formula
The success formula has four steps:
2. Pour your heart into it: We all know that unless we really love or at least like or enjoy what we want, we’re not going to achieve our goal. How many times have you thought that you should lose weight, eat healthier, do more exercise, clear out your desk or pull out the weeds in your garden, but nothing got done because your heart wasn’t in it? Your head thought it was a good idea, but unless your heart, the real driver behind your actions is on board, your plans and schemes are doomed to fail.
3. Do what it takes: So, you’ve thought of a goal and you’re emotionally fired up about it, but unless you actually take the necessary actions and see your goals to completion, nothing gets done. Many of us don’t achieve our goals because we become lazy and postpone our plans; we are lured by other things or never start because we’re too afraid of the obstacles and difficulties that may arise.
4. Surrender your attachment to the results of your actions: This is the key ingredient to spiritual and material growth and requires greater explanation. The spiritual masters called this, ‘giving up our attachment to the fruits of our actions’.
When you surrender your attachment to the results of your actions, you do not have strong preferences based on your personal likes and dislikes about what you should get, or when and how you should get it.
Do you best and leave the rest
All actions will produce results sooner or later. But, what you get, and when it comes, is totally out of your hands. You only have the freedom and right to choose what do and how you do it. If you keep on thinking about what you are going to get while you are performing your actions, you will lose efficiency and focus. And with that, you will sabotage your own success.
I’ll give you a personal example. I often speak to groups and If I allowed myself to get off track by focussing on what the audience is thinking of me or what I will get as a result of the talk, I would ruin everything. I’d forget important points and do poorly. (Believe me, I have learnt this the hard way). On the other hand, if I take the attention away from myself and my desire for specific results, I free myself to focus solely on my talk and the needs of the group.
Giving up your attachment to the results of your actions while performing your actions is a seemingly simple piece of advice that actually is a great spiritual discipline. This one thing can bring great inner and outer growth. How?
Material and Spiritual rewards
When you detach from outcome, more mental energy is put into the actual job at hand instead of squandering it in imagining future results. As you focus on the job at hand, you are training your mind to become single-pointed and equipoised.
From a worldly standpoint, the focused energy increases your efficiency and mood because you’re not worrying about future rewards. When you are more efficient and cheerful, you get more done and find more opportunities opening up for you and you progress in your career.
From the standpoint of personal growth, the ability to concentrate on your job and staying even-keeled are desirable qualities for anyone to have. No one likes a scatterbrain who jumps from task to task, seldom accomplishing something well. And, we all admire someone who is even-minded and doesn’t lose his cool under stress.
From a spiritual standpoint, concentration and equipoise trains the mind to be more peaceful. A peaceful mind is a mature mind that is able to handle life’s challenges with poise and ease. This inner peace translates as happiness and is a sign of spiritual growth.
Joy in every action
We do actions because our goal is to be happy when the results come. Thinking in this way only postpones our happiness into the future where the results are uncertain and out of our control.
As we surrender our attachment to the rewards of our actions and focus on the job at hand, we find happiness in the action itself and not in uncertain results which will come only in the future.
This is the formula for worldly and spiritual success.
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