We are living in an age of speed and smartness. These are the USPs of any famous product. We often get tricked by promise of a little X speed and little more smartness and end up buying new versions of a gadget or a service. This mindset often spills into other aspects of life – career and relationships. We want instant success and instant happiness. We want the prize without the price. This leaves us with depression and loneliness. Let us now study the reasons behind this mindset and solutions for the same.
Prize over the price: There is excessive obsession with the results than the efforts. Results matter in the worldly estimation and are only worth showing to the world. They offer instant gratification. But the gratification lasts for a short while. The learning, fulfilment and growth that comes through a conscious and committed effort is long lasting and more rewarding in the long run. Success is more in the race run than the trophy won. If a student writes an essay based on proper research and contemplation, the student learns a lot apart from the grade in the marksheet. If the same student takes the help of an AI bot, there is hardly any learning and growth.
Distraction of enjoyment: Even if there is good inspiration and impetus to put effort, there is a great impediment in form of self-absorption. There is so much obsession with enjoyment derived from body, mind and intelligence. This enjoyment distracts one while endeavoring with the body, mind and intelligence. It is also called as lust. It is insatiable and insidious (BG 3.39). While watching a serious webinar on internet, one is tempted to watch a short joke which is only unproductive. One is more tempted to sleep than to go for a morning walk. A student is tempted to read a newspaper instead of preparing for an exam. As a result, even if someone wants to endeavor, one wants to put the least endeavor and take the least trouble.
Shortsightedness in life: Life works by this principle – the harder we endeavor to get something, the more value we give to it when we get it, we cherish and maintain it with great care and caution, the longer it remains, the greater happiness we can derive from it. Be it wealth, assets and learning. If we get something cheaply and easily, it is but likely that we lose it also easily. Nearly 60% of the time a family’s money is exhausted by the children of the person who created the wealth, according to Roy Williams, president of wealth consultancy The Williams Group. The children does not understand the value of their estate because they have not worked hard for it. As a consequence they squander it away.
Advertisement: It is not very uncommon these days to find products with taglines like “Master AI in 30 days”, “Word power made easy” and “Success at your fingertips”. This kind of promotion and branding builds narratives like unless something becomes easy, it is not worth doing it and if one is doing something difficult, then one is not smart enough. These kind of narratives further aggravate the above three challenges and makes it really difficult to overcome this mindset (BG 2.42).
We are living in a world of limitation. The resources are limited. The opportunities are limited. There is cut-throat competition in every walk of life especially now when the world has become a global village due to internet and social media. It takes considerable effort to secure and maintain a position. The world around us is filled with uncertainty. The world as of now is very complex and is subject to constant change. A problem in one part of the world can affect the entire world. There can be natural disasters, health hazards like the recent pandemic, wars, climate change and financial crisis (BG 8.15). Life is tough in the world in general. It is all the more tough now. A mindset of trying to make everything easy and expecting everything to become easy is not healthy and productive.
The way out
Regular education through study and good company about the wisdom of life and the facts of life in the world can help in overcoming the short-sightedness in life. It reminds us of the importance of the need to grow over the need to gratify. It makes us aware and alert and guards us from the false promises and propaganda. Living a life of selflessness and contribution helps us overcome the selfish craving for results and the distractions of self-absorption (BG 3.43).