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Persistence for Success

Persistence for Success

Success Lessons from Bhagavad Gita - 1

One of the greatest lessons Bhagavad Gita teaches us is about the Virtue of Persistence. Persistence is the primary ingredient for success in life. All the failure stories can be traced back to a lack of persistence; likewise, there is a great element of persistence behind every success story. Read the autobiographies of any successful people and we will find that it is true.

The Bhagavad Gita is an Indian religious text composed as an advice Krishna, the incarnation of God, gave to Arjun, the hero of the Epic Mahabharat.

Gita starts when Arjuna, the warrior, confronts his enemies, the Kauravas. Among his enemies are his cousins, his grandfather, and his own teacher. Seeing them in the middle of the battlefield, Arjuna falters. A great fear engulfs him. He is afraid of the act of killing his people. He is fearful of the great sin he is about to commit. He keeps is weapons down and wanted to quit.

Arjun is basically a warrior. He has been trained by the greatest of all teachers at the time. He obtained divine weapons by pleasing the Gods. In short, Arjun has been preparing all his life for this final war. And he is now on the battlefield, completely lost and stalled. The rest of the Gita is the advice of Krishna to Arjuna to alleviate his fear and make him prepared for the Greatest of all wars.

Verses 31 to 36 in Chapter 2 of the Gita, Krisha advises Arjuna about the need for persistence to become successful. In the context of the Gita, Krishna reminds Arjuna of his duty. A warrior must fight; hence Krisha asks Arjun to differentiate between his sense of duty and his emotions. When conducting one's duty, he or she should completely eliminate negative emotions such as fear.

Moreover, if he gives up at the last moment, all the past efforts will be entirely in Vain, and the people will ridicule him.

We also encounter similar situations in life that Arjuna faced. In our lifetime, we may have reached this point a number of times where we wanted something very badly but was discouraged and wanted to quit. In the battle of life, like Arjuna, many times we get saddened and disheartened. Most of the time, success lies a little ahead of the moment we decide to quit. All successful people have gone through this so called “threshold of fatigue” where they want to give up. However, they overcome this stage, and continue fighting for their Goal. They know that the desire and the persistence to achieve the Goal override any internal or external discouragement.

Arjuna wanted to give up when success was at his hands reach. He has been practicing all his life for this war. The world considered him as the greatest warrior of his time. What would have happened if he quit? Krishna says in Verse 34-36: "People will speak of your eternal infamy. And to honored person infamy is worse than death. The great warriors will think of you as having desisted from the fight out of fear, and you will earn the contempt for those to whom you had been estimable. Your enemies will speak many indecent words while denigrating your might".

Before success comes in our life, we are sure to meet with temporary defeats and even some failures. When defeat overtakes us, the most logical thing to do is to quit. That is precisely what the majority do. That is the reason there are not many successful people around us. Most people quit at the golden moment, just a few minutes or a few feet from their Goal. Mediocre people lack persistence and are eager to go back to their comfort zones.

Failure always tricks you with many forms of cunningness. One can never become successful if he or she succumb to the tricks of failure. The most common game played by failure is that it fatigues you. It gives you all kinds of negative signals that forces you to believe you will never succeed.

There would be many hindrances on the path to success. One of the main obstacles (ironically) is self-doubt. You will keep questioning yourself. You will question your luck, your talent, your appearance, your privileges, your popularity ... the list is endless. The brain tricks you with all these doubts, which works as a catalyst to quit. The only way to escape from this brain hacking is to identify these doubts as and when they arise and affirm that you will never quit until you achieve the Goal. Calming your mind or rather taming your mind is necessary to escape from these self-doubts. Meditation is a very powerful tool to identify and alleviate negative thoughts.

In addition to your self-defeating traits, the people around you would try to pull you down most of the time. The higher your Goal is, the bigger the pull from the people. You will be mocked, suppressed, ridiculed, and criticized. If your mind succumbs to this external pull, it will be impossible for you to achieve any great goal in life. This pull can come from strangers or people you do not know and from your own family, friends, and colleagues. You have to be prepared to receive these external negativities. A tamed mind never aborbs these negativity and can escape these negativity like water over wax paper.