Saturday, July 5, 2008

Do What You Love…Love What You Do

We grow up believing that what counts most in our lives is that which will occur in the future. We are doing everything to make a better future. Parents teach children that if they learn good habits now, they will be better off as adults. Teachers assure the students that the boring classes they attend now will benefit them later, when they are going to be looking for jobs. The General Manger tells the junior employees to work hard and have patience, because one of these days they will be promoted to the executive ranks. However the hope will remain with them even on the previous day to the retirement. “We are always getting to live,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson used to say, “but never living.”

Of course, this emphasis on the postponement of gratification to a certain extent is inevitable. A lot of people believe that it is the hope for tomorrow, is what make them live today. We are more externally driven than internally driven. We are more worried about what others think about us than what we think about ourselves. We always strive so hard to achieve the goals set by our superiors, than the goals set by ourselves in our lives. I have worked with some well known companies in India before I started my own business and then turned to training. When I got into business I found it very tough to be disciplined to achieve the goals, while I used to achieve harder goals while I was in the job. The reason being in my business I don’t have a boss. I don’t have any external pressure. As I ventured into business through Amway, which doesn’t require any big investment, there was absolutely no pressure. I have seen this happening with lot of people. We all perform to our fullest potential when there is an external pressure on us to perform.

There is no question that to survive, and especially to survive in this complex competitive society, it is necessary to work for external goals and to postpone the pleasures of the present moment. “Living in the present moment’ remains as an unachievable dream for most because of this. But a person does not have to be turned into a puppet playing as per the tunes set by others. The solution is to gradually become free of the external rewards and learn how to substitute them with rewards that are under one’s own powers. This is not to say that we should abandon every goal set by others like our superiors in job or seniors in our society, rather, it means that, in addition to the goals set by others, we develop a set of our own goals. Over a period of time our own goals should replace the goals set by others and that is the time we could say we have control on our life.

In a way we have all started accepting that the destination will be wonderful only if the journey is painful. In fact this also give us a hope that all painful journey ends with wonderful results. Hence we go through the pains hoping that one day I will enjoy the life the way I want to enjoy. But unfortunately in most of these cases life is nothing but a continuous pain as once you reach a destination, you have another destination to be reached. Once you achieve a goal you are motivated to set the next bigger goal. Hence there is no end to this pain. Life becomes a frustrating and painful experience and the world becomes an unfriendly place to live in.

However one thing is for sure, we cannot escape from this as we have to make a living to take care of our families and to fulfill our needs. The easiest way to escape from all this is to get detached from all this materialistic accomplishments and escape to Himalayas and go in a totally spiritual way. But can we have a life where we need to strive to achieve goals on a continuous basis and at the same time being happy every moment? In other words can we have a journey to a wonderful dream destination where the journey also is enjoyable? In fact we can have. If the journey itself is enjoyable, there won’t be any frustrations; we will love every moment, we will in fact love the journey and would long for more journey. If the work itself is giving you pleasure, you will work more and long working hours won’t be a problem for you. Mother Theresa said, “When you love what you do and do what you love, then you develop passion in your work.” Anything you do with passion you stand to excel in that field.

Now the question is, how can we make the journey enjoyable, how can we make the work itself very exciting as the result is, how can we make the process more interesting than or at least equally interesting as the result is? Think over it this week and you will find answers. Work with an intention of loving what you do and deriving happiness in the present moment.