We are all looking to win and avoid failure in our life in all fields; be it in a friendly game of sports or creating the best new app or winning at the next big client pitch. However, failure in material endeavours is a part of life and can never be completely avoided. Though, we can cultivate certain habits, mindsets that can improve our chances of succeeding at what ever task we put up for ourself.
In his writings HDG Srila Prabhupada advised all neophytes to practice devotional service with – Enthusiasm, Patience and Confidence – to make steady improvements in their spiritual pursuits. I have come to realise that these 3 qualities are critical and rather necessary conditions for us to make any kind of improvements, get better and be successful at any task.
Enthusiasm is the starting point and a manifestation of our genuine interest in the task at hand. Degree of enthusiasm in a way signifies the importance of the task or project in our life. Enthusiasm is the positive infectious energy that gives us wings to conceive and decide to undertake seemingly impossible tasks. Further, majority of tasks that we undertake involve participation or support from other people and in case we are not enthusiastic about it ourselves it is difficult to convince others to pitch in their best.
At the core of Enthusiasm, sits the most important question – Why?
If we have a compelling reason to take up a job, project or task then we don’t need any external motivation and we are committed enough to make it happen. Rather, not just committed but we are vivacious enough so that others would want to work alongside no matter what the task is. If not, lack of enthusiasm will be very the cause of disintegration of teams and mediocre outputs.
Each task is done as much with heart as it is done with our head. So if we are not enthusiastic about undertaking any activity or task then its better to drop that or we must find something good about it that would keep us motivated.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Any task worth achieving would need some efforts, time and likely overcoming some failures along the way.
While in this age of virality and instant gratification it is difficult to believe but even almost every overnight success that we can think of entails a grind of countless hours of practice, efforts, numerous rejections & failures, avoiding numerous alluring distractions to stay focused and dissuading powerful persuasions to change course. While we may aspire to have a unicorn startup, or a million followers on our youtube channel or be the best chef or sportsperson but to assume that it would happen quickly, without any hiccups is to setup self for disappointment. This mindful realization and awareness of the incubation and gestation period of success that keeps the winners interested and invested to reap substantial gain.
Patience is in a sense also the parent virtue for persistence as it allows us to have a long-term view and enables us to not give up sooner than we should and to keep trying.
Interestingly, Patience becomes one of the most critical virtues when we are dealing with people – not just on the professional front but even in our personal lives. Patience with our kids, parents & spouses is critical as being in such a close relationship the expectations are high and the inability to give time and space can affect those relationships negatively. For instance, raising good kids is not an overnight task and only after 20 years of efforts can a couple confidently say that they raised good kids.
A strong belief in our own abilities and the nobility of our purpose is essential to be successful. Confidence about the worthiness of our goal and our potential to achieve that goal is what transforms into grit – a defining trait of all accomplished souls.
African American writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou said from her harsh experience of having a troubled childhood where she had to endure racial discrimination and sexual assaults:
“It’s very hard to be young and curious and almost egomaniacally concerned with one’s intelligence and to have no education at all and no direction and no doors to be open… To go figuratively to a door and find there’s no doorknob.”
Traumatised by her childhood experiences, she spent many years virtually as a mute and became mother at age of 16 after a failed high-school relationship and yet inspite of these difficulties she had strong belief in her abilities and her vision of improving the world with her powerful and moving ideas. And she did so, becoming a Pulitzer nominated, best-selling author by the time she was around 40 years old and becoming an inspiration for many others.
It is this sense of self-belief that keeps us moving, afloat inspite of the numerous setbacks that we may face during our arduous journey towards a deserving goal.
With a conscious integration of these 3 intellectual and emotional aspects, we would be better placed to attain success both in our personal & professional life.