When I started writing this blog last week, I wanted to draw parallels between career breakthroughs and the life of Lord Krishna. However, when I came across His most important message to the world, I was struck by the writer’s block. I found the message contradictory.
But then I came across this wonderful statement – Truth is contradictory; if it is not contradictory, then it is not the truth!
This got me thinking. After a lot of self-conflict finally, I had my discovery about what seems to be a contradictory message.
कर्मणये वाधिकारस्ते मां फलेषु कदाचन ।
मां कर्मफलहेतुर्भू: मांते संङगोस्त्वकर्मणि।।
Here is its literal translation-
Do your duty without thinking about results.
Why do I find it contradictory?
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey has been my bible for self-growth. I strongly believe that these 7 habits maketh a highly effective individual. And I have the strongest belief, especially the 2nd habit–Begin with an end in mind. I always embraced this principle in my training, coaching, writings, and possibly everything that I do in life.
Moreover, if Lord Krishna meant exactly what we interpret it as; then–
- Why would Lord Vishnu incarnate as Krishna? We have always been told every incarnation of the Lord is for a specific purpose.
- Why Krishna as a child would form a pyramid to steal the butter? Eating butter was His aim.
- Why would he want to be tied up eventually to uproot a tree? Wasn’t liberating Nalakuvara and Manigriva (the sons of Kuvera) from the curse, His goal?
- Why did He jump into the water to get the ball He and his friends were playing with? Did He not want to teach a lesson to the poisonous snake Kailya?
- Why did He …
If Lord Krishna did every single thing for a reason–why would He want to give a message to the world which means the exact opposite?
Well, here’s my take–
If you carefully study all tales of Lord Krishna, everything that He did also had unintended consequences. For example, when he stole the butter, He used to be beaten up by His mother Yashoda; when He liberated the sons of Kuvera from the curse, He had to be tied up and undergo pain; and so on.
Every deed of His not just helped Him achieve His goal, but also landed Him in trouble in some way or the other.
Usually, these unintended consequences make us take a step back. Almost always, we are afraid of the unknown and do not take action.
I strongly opine that Lord Krishna meant exactly this in his message – Do your duty without thinking about (or being afraid of unintended) results.
Looking at the message from this changed perspective, I have been able to uncover 6 powerful career breakthrough lessons –
#1 Break all rules
All of what Krishna did was against the norms–was born in a prison, stole butter, ate mud, jumped in the poisonous water, killed his own uncle, encouraged Pandavas to fight against their own brothers, was a charioteer in the battle, and more. All of this had unintended consequences. But then He kept breaking one rule after another. That makes Him is the most revered deity.
Our career decisions usually are based on the traditional thought process. We are usually scared of going against the tide. And hence we cannot achieve breakthroughs in our career.
Although most successful people in their career have been those who have gone against the tide, we choose to be conservative in our approach.
So don’t be bothered about–the thoughts and sayings of people around, failures, and other unintended consequences. Go ahead, break the rules, and set yourself on the journey of grand career breakthroughs.
#2 Think BIG
Lord Indra–the rain God was arrogant of the powers He possessed. So Lord Krishna asks the residents of Gokul to worship Mt. Govardhana instead of Indra. Upset with this, Indra makes sure there are torrential rains in Gokul. Then Krishna picks up the lofty Govardhan Mountain on his little finger to protect the people and their cattle.
The narratives of this incidence and much alike spread like wildfire. When Kans (His uncle) heard of these, Krishna’s life was in danger.
Everyone has the potential to move mountains and make it big in their careers. When you think big, people will laugh. When you take big action, people will pull you down. When you achieve big, people will be jealous and will attempt to harm. But let it not come in your way of thinking big.
So, go ahead – Think Big. Take Big actions. Achieve Big.
#3 Love what you do, but don’t get married to it
Radha and Krishna are an eternal love story. It is said that Krishna is incomplete, and without Krishna, Radha cannot be complete. Thus, they are worshipped together. However, Lord Krishna never married Radha as he believed – love and marriage are two different things. He said marriage is materialistic. He did not bother about what the world had to say.
We all must love what we do. That is the way we could add value to people and achieve career heights. However, getting married to the job is not what we must aim at. The side effects of getting married to the job are spending more time and effort at work than necessary. This raises the expectations, and eventually, you don’t get what you want. Don’t worry if the people around you feel you are going half day–just love your work, give your best shot, do all you can to be at your best; but don’t get married to it.
#4 Be Feminine
Lord Krishna spent most of the time with the women–the gopis. His raas leela is a dance form admired by all. During the dance, He is said to be absorbed without being bothered about what the villagers had to say.
Success at the workplace of today is a function of being able to care for your clients and nurturing people around you. Caring and nurturing are feminine qualities. When you exhibit these, they might perceive you as someone who is meek. Don’t be bothered by being taken advantage of. Bring in those feminine qualities at work which will put you on the path of breakthroughs.
#5 Be playful
Lord Krishna is said to have been very mischievous as a child. He used to hide the clothes of the women and watched them naked when they went for a bath. He broke their pots and teased them without being bothered or being called a flirt.
Being playful is being you. Usually, people try to portray a different picture of themselves at work. This affects the way they work. You need to be yourself. Playfulness is the new work ethic. Being playful makes you more productive at work as it leads to creative thinking, lowers stress, and lightens the mood. So don’t overthink, be playful.
#6 Be righteous
Lord Krishna always was in favor of Dharma or righteousness. He killed his own uncle–Kans because he was cruel. At the battlefield of Kurukshetra, he prompted Pandavas to fight against their own brothers. Pandavas won the battle but even then had lost everything–all of their sons, their guru, their family members. But He was of the view that despite all of that Pandavas must fight the battle for establishing the Dharma. At the end of the battle when they all return to their kingdom, Gandhari–the mother of the Kauravas curses Krishna and as a result, He loses His kingdom.
At work, most of the time we give up doing what is right for instant gains. For instance, we might not tell the manager he is wrong because it might get us in his good books. Also, if you have an authoritative boss, you might end up in an argument and that might have an unintended impact on your appraisal.
On the path of righteousness, you might face hardships or tough times, but it is imperative to do what is right and stick to doing it right even if you are at the risk of losing your job. Being righteous is what will put you on the path of career breakthroughs.
To sum it up –
When I changed my perspective, I could understand Lord Krishna’s message better.
Do your duty without thinking about or being afraid of unintended results–is thus the right interpretation that would be right for career breakthroughs in modern times. I thus encourage you to change your perspective and share your thoughts on this.