Question: Happiness is the only key to success, isn’t it some hard work is also required to become successful in life?
Acharya Prashant: So you are assuming that the happy one does not work hard.
Listener: We are always told that only happiness is required to become successful.
AP: Yes only happiness and happiness excludes hard work, is that so?
L: That’s what we read.
AP: You read that, happiness excludes hard work?
L: No sir, only just you need happiness to become successful.
AP: Yes, happiness is the key to success, correct, but does happiness excludes hard work? If happiness excludes hard work then all those who work hard surely must be very sad. Can’t you work hard happily? Can’t hard work emerge out of your joy? “I’m so happy that I am working very hard.” Or must you work hard only with a long face? “I am so frustrated, that I am slogging.”
L: Since childhood we have always been told that.
AP: Yes, since childhood we have been told about effort as a duty, hard work as an obligation, hard work as a result oriented investment. “Work hard so that you can have dividends later on.”
But there is another kind of hard work, very energetic hard work, which arises from your happiness, which arises from your completeness, and it’s not result oriented, it’s like a herd of deer running in a jungle. It’s not that a tiger is chasing them, and it’s not like they are running towards a grassland. They are just running and they are running terribly hard; you can’t catch them. Have you seen? At least video recordings of animals running very very fast in a jungle, of birds soaring high, it’s not necessary that they are hungry, they are just soaring high, must have climbed to that height and that requires energy. They could have decided to sleep, why put in so much effort, why climb to that height? Why keep gliding? Why flap your wings?“No no, I am happy so I am working hard.”
Our hard work is just labor, labor done to get result. And the result that you want never satisfies you. The proof is, that you want more. At no point do you stop and say that I have had enough. And because you want more, you have to put in more labor. So, in all your life you are just a laborer. I am talking to you right now, even this involves some expense of energy, does it not?
Coming over to your place it took me two and a half hours. I invested time, but as you will go back I will not even know your names. In fact, your faces are not even imprinted in my memory, the time is too short. Tomorrow if you may meet me in the market I may not even recognize you, I cannot really expect anything from you. I don’t even know your names, neither name nor face, so it’s alright with me. If one of you does not belong to this course and is yet sitting here, it’s alright with me, no count has been kept of that nature, I suppose the whole thing was optional, right? Anybody could have come.
So, work is happening without much of an expectation from the future. I may never meet you again, we may never come to this university again, that’s alright. But the work that is happening, because it is happening without any expectation for result is hence of a very high quality, and is therefore, fit to be considered, to be recorded. And same on your side, you have not come here for the sake of marks, right? This particular session does not hold any academic credits, you too have invested time, you too have walked some distance to come over, and work is happening, and beautiful work is happening. It is happening out of our mutual happiness. You were not compelled to come here, you are happy to be here, or so I suppose.
I am surely happy to be here, and out of this happiness work happens, so get rid of that assumption that happiness excludes hard work, it does not. Happiness that excludes hard work is just lethargy. A fellow who says, “I am happy, only when I don’t work is surely a free rider.”
What can you do, you have worked hard only when you were afraid and sad, right? Somebody comes and pulls you up, “Exams are coming, you will fail”, and then you start working hard. So what is your engine? Sadness. The more sad you are, the harder you work. Is that not so? The more afraid you are, the harder you work, like a dog that is chasing you. Or like being chased by a dog. You don’t even know, how fast you can run. All you need is that rabid dog and you work so hard.
And when the world gets to know that, that is the way to get you to work hard, then only has to let some dogs loose after you. “Oh! She is not working hard? ‘Tommy?’ ”, and she starts working hard. Don’t let this become a habit, don’t let this be known that you can be made to work hard through pressure or frustration or sadness or fear. Otherwise you are giving the world a handle over you. Be happy and run hard. How does that sound? Like somebody who jogs for pleasure.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: Real hard work is a result of a really happy mind
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