When achievement translates into fulfillment
We all want to do something worthwhile, something that the world will notice and appreciate. Unfortunately, that isn’t easy. What is even more perplexing and disorienting is that even if we achieve something spectacular or even significant, it may not translate into fulfillment. Such was the painful predicament that Arjuna acknowledged at the start of the Bhagavad-gita (02.08).
How can we ensure that achievement leads to fulfillment? By considering when it doesn’t. That’s primarily when what we achieve isn’t personally meaningful to us. That happens when we are persuaded or pressured or even allured by the world’s glamorization. Unfortunately, our life’s pace, the culture’s propaganda and the mind’s fantasies all combine to make us overvalue things that aren’t really all that important for us.
What things are really important for us? These are the things that speak to our core: the essence of who we are. Gita wisdom explains that we are essentially spiritual beings and that we can find real fulfillment only when we connect with the Whole, Krishna, whose parts we are. When we lovingly link with him internally and then use all that we have to serve externally, we not only become propelled with a deep devotional dynamism toward great achievement, but also that such effort itself provides us a sublime nonmaterial fulfillment, even if we don’t achieve anything noteworthy in the world’s eyes.
Rather than chasing after glamorized achievements or lamenting what all we haven’t been able to achieve, we can focus on introspection to discover and pursue the things that are meaningful for us, thereby paving the way to fulfillment.
When achievement is about something deeply meaningful to us personally, not about something glamorized by the world, only then does that achievement lead to fulfillment.
Think it over:
When does achievement not lead to fulfillment?
What has determined the kind of achievements you usually pursue?
Which of your achievements have provided you fulfillment and which haven’t? What does that tell you about yourself?
02.08: I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven.