All of us set goals. All of us attempt to achieve success. All of us want to have something that we are passionate about. Finding your passion and setting goals is a big industry in itself. There are books, CDs, online courses, offline workshops and innumerable one on one coaches waiting to help you become successful. With so much of support why is success eluding most people?
Let us quickly look at what Vedantins of the past have said about this. With respect to this topic the following quote of Swami Vivekananda stands out in my mind “ Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced”
At the first level this means we need two important aspects to be defined before we begin life.:
- Finding an area of natural inclination
- A goal that moves higher on a achievement
Let us take a couple of examples to understand the above.
Steve Jobs, his personal passion for design and applying it in the area of digital computers led him to spend a lifetime building a variety of beautiful products which were easy to use. His goal was making simple, elegant and beautiful digital devices which will make people think and be different. The goal was not to make the largest company or an award winning laptop. This led him to lead a fulfilling professional career which was also incidentally successful.
The next example is Peter Drucker. The professor and thinker, popularly called father of modern management. His active writing career spanned over six decades with him producing a book just months before his passing away at the age of 96. His identification more closely with the people’s side of the institution rather than the analytical side, is highly reflective in his works. His choice to live a life of learning across domains connecting them to managing institutions and stick to his skill of acute observation led him to create classics such as the effective executive, innovation and entrepreneurship, practice of management amongst others.
People who struggled to find their natural inclinations and had the courage to set goals which by normal standards were unimaginable and in some cases did not even fit into the worldly definition of goals – are ones who seemed to have led fulfilling lives – which were both happy and successful. Happiness was intended; their success was just incidental. Their success was but a natural fallout of following their inclination and channelizing it towards an ideal.
Vedanta asks everyone of us to first spend time understanding ourselves so that we may seek the right things in life and more importantly in the right way. This is also goal setting and finding passion, but just that the approach to doing them is contrarian. Do you have the courage in you to try this route?