A Coaching Power Tool Created by Ashvin Deshpande
(Transformational Coach, INDIA)
You have the right to perform your actions, but you are not entitled to the fruits of the actions.
Do not let the fruit be the purpose of your actions, and therefore you won’t be attached to not doing your duty.
This message was from the Lord Krishna to Arjun during the Epic War of Mahabhaarat when Arjun was not willing to fight, given that he had opposite of him, all those persons he considers to be his own. Arjun says to Krishna, what’s the use of fighting against my own for just a piece of land. What happiness will I get by slaying my dear ones? The ones on the other sides are my own uncle, my cousin. Won’t I be committing a sin? What will I get by killing all of them. Instead I would have preferred that they kill me here itself.
Then Krishna explains to him about his actions. The above verse, which is among the most famous verse in Mahabhaarat, is one of those explanations he has given.
Let us study the context:
In this case Krishna tells Arjun that no matter what is the result of the war, he should not be worried about it. His duty is to fight, then he has to fight. He wins or loses that is not important. Even if he dies during the war, he will attain heaven because he has correctly performed his duty.
Now coming to the second phrase of the above verse, Krishna also advises Arjun that he should never let the fruit be the purpose of his duties, in this case the action needed is his fight and the fruit is either he wins or loses. In other words he is not supposed to worry about victory or defeat. Either one wins or loses, he must be neutral about it.
In simple terms it means: Keep on performing your duties without being attached to the result of your actions. Either you get something or you don’t get anything, you should not worry about it. You should have a neutral behaviour.
When we envision our future we tend to have a list of goals that we want accomplish. This might be an endless list of items that we want to check off throughout our lifetime.
- What happens when we focus on the result and not the process, necessary to get us to that end-state?
- Will we feel unworthy or label ourselves as “failures” because we did not achieve the goal we fixed?
- Will we not even begin because of the fear of failing?
- Does the outcome feel so enormous and heavy that we want to avoid making headway towards it?
When we focus on the result, we lose sight of the enjoyable actions to work the path towards the goal. When we shift our perspective to the daily actions that inevitably contribute to the end-result, we accept these smaller, more powerful changes that bring us into a resourceful state. It is in this resourceful state that helps us to learn to love the journey, and learn more about our inner power. Learning is a part of any action. Learning about ourselves means we learn what we enjoy and don’t enjoy. Accepting that perhaps the goal we choose in the beginning was not what we wanted, and making adjustments that support the true self.
Throughout the process of reaching a decided goal, we will have gained a lot, learned powerful insights and acknowledged something new about ourselves, which can result in personal empowerment. Fear can keep us stuck in old actions that no longer support a fulfilling life. Acknowledging that we fear and the reasons for that, removes the power it has over us. Acknowledging thus moves us into a place of self-acceptance and awareness.
A few years ago as a student of a management post graduate course, I was not able to enjoy studies as I had a fear on the back of my mind that I may not get enough marks to secure admission.
I thought of the same thing – action and results. My duty was to study. Any student who succeeds or fails is not within their control. The student does not study just for the sake of securing required marks in his exams with an absolute attachment with the result as “X” percentage. When he studies, he learns. Whether he succeeds or fails he should not be too happy or too sad about it.
If ever a student studies for the sole purpose of passing his exams with “X” percentage, in the end he has not learned anything even if he has succeeded. But if he studies because he considers learning and studying as his duty, he won’t even need to be worried whether he will succeed or fail. He builds his capability to learn, grasp and master the subjects with a relentless practice. And such a student has always seen most likely to succeed in his exams. Unless, they are not able to reach their exam for some reason. But still he should not be sad about it. Why? Because the most important is at least he performed his duty well.
The moment, I got detached from the result, my heart started feeling light. I felt the burden is going off me. I could focus more on the learning and understanding the subjects. All the doubts started to fade steadily as I progressed. I acknowledged myself within a span of 60 days that I am capable enough to do what I am supposed to do. My enthusiasm and energy while writing the practice tests increased. The insecurity that I used to feel started to melt away as I focused on the resourceful state after each test. Recognizing that within 60 days ago I could hardly score 30 percent, now I am able to score more than 70 percent already.
I focused more on the actions than the result and the forward moment was phenomenal. I eventually came out with excellent result.
Goals are important drivers in a client’s life that can support them in learning more about themselves, contributing to their self-awareness. For lasting change and continued empowerment it is important for the client to not focus just on the result too much, but on the actions that they will perform. Assisting the client in this perception shift will help them move into a resourceful state and enjoyment when working towards a goal. It will also help them identify if the goal is truly aligned with their vision, bringing their self-awareness to the forefront.
My Power Tool Reflections:
- When thinking about the vision/outcome/goal, what feelings do you have surrounding it? What actions do you want to perform in order to realize your vision/outcome/goal?
- How can you enjoy the process of actions on your way to realizing your vision/outcome/goal?
- What about the series of actions are you looking forward to?
- What can you do to feel more empowered/better about this vision/goal/outcome?
- What rewards, acknowledgements can you put in place when reaching milestones throughout this process?