To take sole credit for our abilities is to put too much burden on ourselves

Amid life’s inevitable struggles, we all seek some abilities that help us thrive or at least survive. When we discover some such abilities, we naturally build our sense of self-worth and even our very identity around those abilities. 

Sometimes, however, our abilities seemingly check out. Although we try our best to perform, things just don’t work. What do we do amid such incomprehensible incompetence? We may rail in anger or sink into depression. Some Nobel Laureate authors have even committed suicide on finding that they just couldn’t replicate their former magic. 

If we don’t want such negative responses to crush us, we can become more introspective and philosophical. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (07.08) indicates that our abilities are manifestations of Krishna’s potency. This means that our abilities are not our entitlements, but are our endowments; they are given to us by divine grace, on a rental basis and can be withdrawn at any moment. And that’s what happens to us periodically.

When we thus understand our dependence on a reality beyond ourselves, we stop taking sole credit for our abilities. Understanding that our creative endeavors are cooperative projects is empowering – it frees us from the burden of self-obsession, both positive and negative.  We don’t become inflated when we rise to excellence or deflated when we fall to mediocrity. Understanding our place and purpose in the overall scheme of things, we keep doing our part in a mood of service. 

When abilities seem to stop manifesting, we can humbly persevere as a discipline and as an offering of our dedication to the divine. Then, when abilities do manifest, we can gratefully cherish those moments for increasing not just our material productivity but also our spiritual self-understanding.  


Think it over:

  • Why is taking sole credit for our abilities an unbearable burden?
  • How does Gita wisdom explain our phases of incomprehensible incompetence?
  • How is seeing creativity as a cooperative project empowering?



07.08 O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.

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1 Comment

  1. An attitude of gratitude is what we need to succeed both materially and spiritually. The time, place circumstances we are in is not under our control so we cannot claim that it is all our doing. We have the choice to endeavor but the results are not our choice. Then how can we take credit? Best is to always try our best and never take credit.

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