This is a typical Western thought. Aiming high is good. Or is it actually? When we casually listen to this thought, we’re okay with it. It’s when we contemplate and reflect on it that we find it stupid.
Consider a teacher who instructs his student to aim for the IITs so that at least he would get into an NIT. If the student really aims high, he will have great expectations and so many dreams, all of which will get shattered when he fails to make it to the IITs. So, if he follows this thought, he ends up in utter dissatisfaction and frustration in most of the cases.
We feel that this philosophy is the only one that exists. No. There is an alternate way of thinking- the very Indian way. It says that the outcome of any action is not determined by the actor. The actor can only perform the action. The outcome of the action depends on so many external factors, which cannot be controlled and manipulated by the actor. So, what is the point in aiming at the outcome of actions? This can be beautifully explained with an example. Consider a student who wants to score good marks in an exam. If he prepares to get more than 90 marks, he will be happy only if he succeeds. But his success depends on so many factors beyond his control- the question paper should be easy, he should be in his perfect health on the day of the exam, he should not make even a silly careless mistake, the examiner should evaluate the paper favourably etc.
So, the result of the exam is equally probable to be either way- 90+ or 90-. So his chance of being happy is very less. Alternately, if he were to follow the Indian thought, let’s see what would happen. The student is already being told that the results of his actions are beyond his control and that he should never be bothered about them. All what he can control is the input- the hard work! He has a duty to fulfil – to prove worthy of the money that his parents spend on his education. He should be bothered only about this duty, to fulfil which shall he work hard. He should not bother about the outcome of the exam whatsoever, because he is only performing his duty. He has no passion for the results. Therefore, whatever the results may be, he is always in a sense of gratitude. He is gracious to have fulfilled his duty with dedication and devotion, and most importantly without any attachment to it. In this way, the student can be in a state of satisfaction and contentment all along the entire journey. Satisfaction is always accompanied by bliss.
The whole notion of being happy at the end of a tiresome journey is a western thought. But, that we can be happy all through the journey is the Indian alternative. Which is better? It’s attitude what matters. Attitude arises from ones beliefs. And I believe, it’s time for us to modify our beliefs, for it can make a lot of difference!!!