Tuesday, 8 January 2019
Results may crown you or crucify you...
We hear this too often..
work is virtue, work is worship, do your duty without any attachment thereof. Does that mean that we have a right to our duty and not to its fruits thereof?
A student works hard to get a top rank. A farmer works hard to get a good harvest. An executive works hard to go up the corporate ladder. Without an objective there is no incentive to work hard. How is it possible to work without attachment?
Please note that the verse does not say that you have no right to the fruits of labor! It urges you to do your duty but learn to accept the result. You may expect but you should have the realization to accept the result of whichever nature. You cannot control the result. Hence give priority to your duty and not to the result. The same thing was said by Confucicus (551 BC – 479 BC), ‘The mind of the superior man is conversant with righteousness, the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain’.
Being dedicated to work has to mean ‘working for the sake of work, generating excellence for its own sake’. If we are always calculating the date of promotion or the rate of commission before putting in our efforts, then such work is not detached. It is no ‘generating excellence for its own sake’, but working only for the extrinsic reward that may (or may not) come by. Working with an eye on anticipated benefits, means that the quality of performance of the current job or duty suffers – through anxiety for the future. In fact, events may not always respond positively to our calculations and hence expected fruits may not always be forthcoming. We should not mortgage our present commitments to an uncertain future.
It has been held that this principle of detachment leads to lack of incentive for effort, striking at the very root of work ethics. To the contrary, concentration on the task for its own sake leads to the achievement of excellence – and indeed to the true mental happiness of the worker. Thus, while commonplace theories of motivation may be said to lead us to the bondage of extrinsic rewards, the detachment principle leads us to the intrinsic rewards of mental and indeed moral satisfaction.
The result can crown you with a kingdom or can crucify you on a cross. You should have the readiness to accept the result, while doing your duty.
Chase as far as the input / effort phase is concerned, and learn to face as far as the result phase is concerned. To put it in another way – ‘Do your duty and be prepared to face the result of whatsoever nature, don’t give up!’ Since there always seems an affirming view coming from the Western world on anything that the East propagates, let me quote from William Shakespeare. He said, “Three sentences for achieving success: know more than others; work more than others; expect less than others.” Therefore you should stay focused on the purpose not on outcome.”
Stay on purpose, not on outcome