Thursday, May 30, 2024

Just give your best without worrying about the results. The Bhagavad Gita explains why.

Amlan Shekhar Baruah

Very often in our lives, we go through situations in which we worry about the consequences or results of our actions, which affect our performance. We are afraid of failing. When we fail, we feel like giving up. We also worry about other people judging us for our actions. So, how should we deal with such situations? Should we give up and stop, or should we try more and continue? The Bhagavad Gita has the appropriate answers to such questions and will certainly be of great help to all of us.

The Bhagavad Gita says that we should never stop doing our duties, no matter what the fruits, results, or consequences are. It says that we should always focus on the performance of our actions, not on their fruits. And doing all activities with an even mind without attachment to their fruits is known as Karma Yoga, or just Yoga.

In verses 47-48 of Chapter 2, Shree Krishna says to Arjuna:

Karmayevādhikāraste mā phaleu kadācana
mā karmaphalaheturbhūrmā te sa

“You have power/control over your actions, but not over their fruits. So never consider yourself to be the cause of the fruits of your actions, nor be attached to inaction. O Dhananjaya (Arjuna), do your duties by abandoning all kinds of attachment and being equanimous/even-minded with respect to success and failure. This equanimity/even-mindedness is called yoga.”

The performance of our actions is in our hands, but the results or consequences are not. Of course, it is true that how we perform our actions will have some impact on the results. But the results may depend on many other factors too. Our actions are not the sole reason for the end results. If we fail at something even after giving our best, it could be because of several factors that are beyond our control. On the other hand, we might succeed in something even after performing very poorly because other factors favor our luck. So, the results of our actions are not always proportional to their performance and are not solely determined by our actions.

Therefore, we should always focus on how well we can perform our actions, because that is the only thing that is in our control. What is the use of worrying about things that are beyond our control? The results of our actions do not matter to us. Instead, what kind of contribution our actions make to the results and how much effort we put into them matter. Therefore, we should try to do our best to do the right thing and never consider ourselves responsible for the results of our actions. If other people blame us for negative results, we should not care about their words because we tried our best and were not responsible for the negative results.

If we are attached to the results of our actions, then the performance of those actions will always be affected by external factors and by the previous results of those actions. If we failed previously, then we will have less confidence, which will certainly affect our present performance negatively, and we will also feel depressed for not getting the desired rewards, which will make us lose interest in our work. On the other hand, if we succeeded previously even after performing poorly because of luck, then we will be over-confident now, which will also negatively affect our present performance, and we will also spend too much time cherishing the rewards we won and less time working on our present performance. However, if we always focus solely on the performance of our actions without worrying about the results, then our performance will certainly get better and better gradually, without depending on whether we succeed or fail. We will be able to retain our patience, courage, confidence, and determination no matter how many times we fail, and we will also be able to discover and work on correcting our mistakes even if we succeed several times.

Also, we should not feel demotivated to work whenever we fail or whenever we feel that there is no chance of success. If we stop doing work, we will not get closer to success. But if we keep on trying even after failing several times, then we will at least learn something and get a little better at our performance, making the next attempt much easier for us.  

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