Is it important to be important?

We often dream about being important. And we may have our own conceptions of what being important means. Maybe whenever we enter a room, all heads turn to welcome us; or wherever we go, people seek our autographs; or wherever we post anything on social media, it gets viewed, liked and shared widely; or we have the biggest office in our company; or we own the most expensive home or phone in our social circle. 

Whatever the particulars of what makes us feel important, we may even believe that being important is the most important goal of our life. But is it worth such importance? What will happen if we are seen as important by the world? Maybe our ego will get more titillated for some time. Maybe the feeling that we are important and are doing something important will motivate us to work harder. But the world’s attention is fickle; it will soon shift to someone else, leaving us feeling unimportant and demotivated. And that possibility of feeling demoralized increases if we don’t become important in the world’s eyes.

Doing what is important in the world’s eyes is not as important as doing what is important for us. While we all can introspect and learn about the things important for us and do them ourselves, we can’t do so if we are obsessed with doing what the world deems important. No wonder the Bhagavad-gita states that staying detached from worldly opinion is a characteristic of knowledge. 

By studying the Gita, we all can appreciate the value of doing what is important for us and can devalue the importance of being important in the world’s eyes, thereby empowering ourselves to do wholeheartedly the things that matter for us

One-sentence summary:

Use our intelligence to devalue the importance of being important, lest we make ourselves impotent 

Think it over:

  • List some ways you have seen others imagining that they are important. Are you prone to similar imaginations?
  • Why do we need to devalue the importance of being important?
  • How can we become motivated to do what is important?

***

13.11: Constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; … [ – all these I declare to be knowledge].


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Author: Chaitanya Charan

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