Failure is not catastrophic – to see failure as catastrophic is catastrophic

Our mind often makes problems seem worse than what they actually are. Suppose someone fails in an exam. Their mind may tell them that their failure proves that they are not good enough, for education or even for life itself. If they become so disheartened as to give up on life, that suicidal quitting is catastrophic.

When we fail at something, the mind often catastrophizes such failures. It berates us that we are good-for-nothing and that our failure proves that we will never be good for anything. Being battered thus by the mind, we lose the spirit to do what we could otherwise have done for dealing with the problem. Consequently, the situation worsens; the mind uses that worsened situation to beat us even more; and we end up paralyzed. Eventually, our seeing the failure as a catastrophe is what makes it a catastrophe.

We can counter the mind’s dystopia by internalizing Gita wisdom. The Gita explains that we are at our core indestructible souls. Whatever things go wrong are going wrong in the body or the world, which is ultimately peripheral to our essential self. Moreover, we have an eternal relationship with the supreme spiritual being, Krishna, who loves us always, no matter what goes wrong or even what we do wrong. The Bhagavad-gita (05.20) states that those who are situated in spiritual knowledge are not shaken by upheavals.

Our spiritual self-understanding gives us the inner security necessary to see things in perspective. We learn to view the reversal objectively. Instead of letting the mind unwarrantedly extrapolate from one failure to a blanket self-condemnation, we calmly discern how to best rectify the situation. Being no longer weighed down by our mental perception of the problem, we can use our energy optimally for responding effectively to the actual problem.

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4 Comments

  1. Sir, please use simple words of english

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  2. Good article Prabhuji. But actually doing it is easier said than done..

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