Questioner: If we want to succeed in life, what plays a major role – fate, God, effort or luck?
Sadhguru: Fate, God, luck, effort – maybe all of them, but in what proportion? When you say fate, obviously it is something you cannot do anything about. When you say luck, again obviously it is something you cannot do anything about. God is also not something you can do anything about. The only thing that is in your hands is effort. Put your hundred percent into your effort. What happens, happens. Don’t leave proportions of your energy and your capability to luck¸ God, fate, and all these things – that is not your business. If there is such a thing, it will act. Your business is only effort, and the effort has to be incisive; it should be focused and calibrated. Simply creating effort is foolish. Hard labor alone is not going to get you somewhere. The right kind of action, the right timing, the right place – all are important.
For these things to happen, you need perception and intelligence. That is all you must do in your life – constantly look for ways to enhance your perception and your intelligence. The rest will anyway happen. And this is the one thing that humanity is unfortunately not doing.
For example, 25 years ago, everyone wanted to become a doctor. If you want to study, the first choice was medicine. Let us say you became a doctor, but then everyone came to a yoga program and stopped having to go to doctors. Business will go down. It will no longer be a good profession to go into. Anyway, very few people are becoming doctors because they want to become doctors. There are a few doctors who really want to be doctors, understand the human system and serve people, but others are becoming doctors because they think it is lucrative. It is quite disturbing for me that someone’s sickness is a lucrative business, because you would not want everyone to become healthy.
Do not try to put up a recipe for your success. Real success happens when you use yourself to your full potential. It does not matter whether you become a doctor or a politician, a yogi or whatever; success means you are living your life to your full potential. If that has to happen, you need perception and an active intelligence. “How do I grow my intelligence?” Don’t worry about that. The important thing is to enhance your perception. If you are able to see life just the way it is, you have the necessary intelligence to conduct it well. If you are not able to see life the way it is, your intelligence will work against you. Intelligent people on this planet are generally the most miserable people on the planet. This is simply because they have an active intelligence but no perception of life.
People today are trying to broaden their minds, which may make one socially successful, not truly successful. If you want to be truly successful, you must be able to see everything just the way it is, without distortions. If you can see everything just the way it is, life becomes a play, a game. You can play it joyfully and you can play it well for sure. If you can play it well, people will say you are successful.
You should not be aspiring for success. It is a miserable way to structure your life. You will simply cause pain and suffering to yourself and everyone, because your idea of success right now is that everyone should be below you, while you are on top.
This is not success; this is sickness. Never think, “I want to be successful.” Just see how to make yourself into a full-fledged being, and it will find expression. If it finds good expression, people around you will say, “He is a great success!” That is fine. People should recognize that you are a success, but you should not be thinking about how to be successful. That is a very wrong way to approach life.
Once you have come here as a human being, the potential of what it means to be human, all the dimensions of who you are must be experienced. Only then I would say you are successful. And the ability to explore that potential, the daring to explore that potential will come to you when you come to a state within yourself where there is no fear of suffering, that no matter what the life situation is, your experience of life will not alter itself.
Right now, Isha is involved in two dozen social projects. Some of them are mega-size projects in Tamil Nadu and the rest of the world. But I am not even concerned about the success of my activity. If they happen well, they will be beneficial for the people. But even if everything fails, I will still be blissful. I will do my best, there is no question about that, because I have nothing to lose and nothing to gain whichever way, but the success of the activity depends on a variety of situations, and on cooperation from millions of people. However, what happens to these projects or how successful they are in terms of the world’s eyes will not determine my experience of life.
If you have to find fulfillment, if you have to know the joy of doing something, you will only know it when your action is total – 100 percent. In everything that you are doing, if you are absolutely 100 percent, you will notice your action will have a certain sense of exuberance. My activity stretches for almost 18 to 20 hours a day, 7 days of the week, 365 days a year. Maybe in someone else’s mind this would look like slavery. It is not so for me, because I spend my days in absolute exuberance, and that is so for lots of people around me. This is success, if you want to name it that way. But what I would say is, this is life. Life, if lived totally, is success. If it is lived in a meager fashion, that is not being successful. Once you are here, you must explore, live and experience the full depth and dimension of your life.
Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, a bestselling author & poet. Sadhguru has been conferred the “Padma Vibhushan” by the Government of India in 2017, the highest civilian award of the year, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service.
Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally-renowned speaker, Sadhguru’s wit and piercing logic provoke and widen our perception of life. isha.sadhguru.org