“No man can long occupy a position for which he is not fit. By doing well the duty which is nearest to us, which is in our hands now, we make ourselves stronger, and improving our strength in this manner, we may reach a state in which it shall be our privilege to do the most coveted duties…”
The Hindu monk who said this was Swami Vivekananda. He further adds that “We find ourselves in the position for which we are fit, and if one has some capacity above another, the world will find that out, too…” He reminds us that “We are all apt to think too highly of ourselves”.
This is a truth one cannot stop speaking about. As a psychologist I am constantly amazed at individuals lop sided sense of self assessment. The improper self evaluation may be either exaggerated or deflated. In majority cases individuals either think too highly of themselves as Swami Vivekananda says or they think too less of themselves. In either way they harm themselves by living with an unrealistic self image and then basing their expectations or lack of it on it.
Today’s youth fed on principles of fast food and less on philosophical truths are generally on the fast track to make money and desire fame as think too highly of themselves. They are blind to many of their faults, have a sense of exaggerated pride in their degrees leading to arrogance, are unwilling to learn from seniors and are willing to make compromises for climbing the ladder. They tend to think they are more competent than they actually are and that they have better capacities than they are able to perform. Naturally they find themselves in situations that are less than desirable for their bloated egos’ and feel angry about it. In such a situation they may have a tendency to blame all external forces rather than themselves for their malady. They would love to blame others for their failures – their parents, the boss, the organization, the state and even the country are to blame. They may harbor a sense of being a victim of so many forces but may not realize that they actually do not have the capacity needed.
The fact of the matter is that people get what they deserve and not what they would like to desire. To repeat what Swami Vivekananda says that people find themselves in situations for which they are fit and competent. People would like to believe otherwise but that is the truth. So people should first make correct assessments of their talents and recognize them and accept them honestly. Then people should work towards improving themselves and their competencies. That is their primary duty towards themselves. The rewards will follow as the right time. Swami Vivekananda talks of genuine development of the individual and its capacities. Arrogance does just the opposite –it stops the growth of the mind as it gets mired in its own rigid thinking, refuses to be open minded thus failing to expand its scope of understanding, has a short vision and cannot think with a global perspective. It ultimately hampers and limits its own self enhancement.
Swami Vivekananda said “When you are doing any work, do not think of anything beyond. Do it… as the highest worship, and devote your whole life to it for the time being”. At every stage of growth which is a gradual process, what is needed is a calm and serene mind which brings a state of contentment as opposed to the feeling of dissatisfaction and ensuing aggression that often overwhelms people at work. Vivekananda’s tenets about work are as applicable to altruistic motivations as to corporate work life. He speaks of eternal truths that will always act as guiding lights to people who believe.
Published in Hitavada Future on December 29 2009