Let satisfaction be the basis of success, not success the basis of satisfaction

We all want success and we all want satisfaction. Unfortunately, these two sometimes seem mutually exclusive. The more we struggle for success, the more we become dissatisfied if we don’t get it, which, unfortunately, is quite possible in a world of cut-throat competition.

Far worse is if we get success and still feel dissatisfied. That happens when we have unwittingly chosen a definition of success that is alien to us, a definition that the social mirror has imposed on us.

To avoid such dissatisfaction, we need to make satisfaction the basis of our efforts, not success. This means that we observe ourselves during the course of our life and note the activities we are internally comfortable at and externally competent doing. When we engage ourselves in such an activity, we feel satisfied irrespective of whether we get success or not because working according to our nature is in itself fulfilling. The Bhagavad-gita (03.35) urges us to stick to work according to our nature without becoming allured by other kinds of work.

Distancing ourselves from social definitions of success becomes much easier when we have spiritual self-understanding. Thereby, we find inner security in knowing our indestructible identity as parts of God and knowing that he accepts us as we are. By learning to offer our love to him through both bhakti-yoga practice and our work, we get spiritual contentment that decreases our dependence on social approval. When our mental energies are no longer dissipated in worrying about the world’s opinions, we can better focus on our work.

Thus, we increase the likelihood of our making a noteworthy, even praiseworthy contribution – all the more so when we work in an area that we feel good about and are good at, and work in a mood of devotional contribution.

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  1. Hare krishna. We feel so connected with the dilemmas of satisfaction addressed in your article. A number of times in life, it appears that remaining dissatisfied will trigger us to work harder for the goals. But Gita lifts us from this shallow belief. Your elucidation is very helpful. Thanks prabhuji

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  2. Hare Krishna Prabhu. Thank you for the Wonderful article. As you rightly pointed out that how
    important it is to feel satisfaction in the our efforts rather then results. Also the point
    that generally we tend to go after those things that are set by the society as benchmark of success
    for getting that at the end we might remain dissatisfied even after achieving those goals.

    I just felt that the word “mutually exclusive” feels like little misplaced. What I understood from
    the article that, we think we will be happy and satisfied if we achieve our goals, but many times
    the achievement doesn’t give us the satisfaction.

    NO achievement = Dissatisfaction.
    Achievement = Satisfaction.
    Hard labour = Dissatisfaction.

    So Are they really mutually exclusive.

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    • Valid concern, Ankur P.
      I was focusing in this article on those who achieve and still don’t find satisfaction therein because that achievement is not in a field of their interest or inclination. I know many such frustrated achievers – in fact, I myself was one among them. Have written about it here:
      While studying for an engineering degree at a leading college in Pune, in 1996, I took the GRE exam for pursuing post-graduate studies in the USA. I came in first in the state, securing the highest score in the history of my college. As I exulted in my greatest achievement, I experienced something perturbing. Till then, society had led me to believe that for a student, academic accomplishment was the ultimate standard of success and happiness. I had feverishly sought that standard and had finally achieved it. Yet as I stood on the summit of success, I found that the grades brought no joy. Only when others congratulated me did I feel satisfaction. I felt dependent for my happiness on others’ appreciation-more dependent than ever before. As I pondered this disturbing experience, it struck me that I had been chasing a mirage: academic achievement-or any other achievement for that matter-would never satisfy me, but would only increase my hunger for appreciation and thus perpetuate my dissatisfaction. The summit had turned into quicksand.

      Read more http://www.thespiritualscientist.com/about-the-author/an-intellect-discovers-its-perfection/

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