Tuesday, July 6, 2010

PEP TALK From a Mentor to his Mentees Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir

PEP TALK - From a Mentor to his Mentees



Long back I learnt a trick from an eminent trainer on how to get the audience to focus. I too use this technique on a few occasions when I want my audience to settle down to receptive vibes.

The moment you take the stage, you tell the audience to close their eyes for one minute and think of the one person who they consider as their most important mentor.

A few days ago, one of my brilliant ex-students, who attended a motivational lecture in her new organization and was subjected to the same exercise, rang me up and told me that it was my face that came to her mind as a mentor. Then she talked about her work, that she was not very happy with her new workplace which apparently did not measure up to her high expectations. I feel privileged that my ex-student considers me a mentor and I write this “pep talk” especially for her and all my dear mentees, protégées and protégés .

Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir

Every person, sooner or later, goes through a moment when it seems that he or she is on the wrong road, that his entire way of life is wrong.

Have you ever experienced this feeling?

Think about it.

Do you find yourself stuck in an incongruous career or in an incompatible relationship or in a redundant place?

And sadly there is nothing you can do about it, owing to compulsions and constraints beyond your control.

You cannot turn around and retrace your steps or change your road of life.

It seems you have crossed the point of no return and you have no choice but to keep on travelling on the “wrong” road of life.

Failure follows failure.

And with repeated failure comes the fear of failure.

It is indeed a terrible vicious cycle which gradually overwhelms you with the chill of despondency.

What can you do in such a situation?

Maybe the answer lies in a saying I read somewhere a few years ago and noted in my diary:

“ Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir ”

which roughly translated means

“You must know how to flower where God has sown you”  

“wherever God plants you, there you must learn how to bloom”.

How does one learn to flower where God has sown you, and bloom wherever God plants you...?

One may turn to the Enchiridion of Epictetus for guidance.

Epictetus (A.D.55 – A.D. 135), the great Stoic Philosopher, states that happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not in our control.

This is the basic Stoic truth of subjective consciousness and it is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what is in your power from what is not in your power, and know what you can control and what you cannot control, that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.

On analytical reflection we find that the mind alone can be brought under our control. Everything else, the world of events and people’s behaviour, is beyond the scope of our control.

What disturbs you are not events but your attitude towards them.

Don’t demand or except that events happened as you would wish them to. Accept events as they actually happen. And you will be at peace with yourself.

Except for extreme physical abuse, other people cannot hurt you unless you allow them to. Don’t consent to be hurt and you won’t be hurt.

You must learn to approach life as a banquet and not as a buffet. 

Think of your life as if it were a banquet where you would behave graciously, when dishes are pass to you, extend your hand and help yourself to a moderate portion. If a dish should pass you by, enjoy what is already on your plate. Or is a dish hasn’t being passed to you yet, patiently to your turn. Carry on the same attitude of polite restrain and gratitude to your children, spouse, career and money. There is no need to yearn, envy and grab. You will get your rightful share when it is your time.

It then becomes our paramount duty to control the mind and practice total unconcern to externals. “When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it; you can either accept it or resent it.”

To accept an event is to rise above it, to resent it to be overpowered by it. 

With acceptance comes happiness, with resentment comes misery.

Acceptance of an event is not to be mistaken for a life of passivity or submission to fatalism characterized by laziness and a sense of helplessness. “Simply doing nothing does not avoid risk, but heightens it.” Epictetus exhorts us, therefore, to brave the storms of life with planned action born of clear thinking. He recognizes, too, the practical necessity of working for worldly gains, but cautions us only against the false belief that happiness depends on the results such endeavours.

Being an integral part of social structure, you cannot live in isolation... social interaction is inescapable.

In your relationship with others at home, at work or in society, no matter how people behave, you have to maintain inner tranquility, with unwavering attention on achieving your own merit and excellence.

People act under their own inner compulsions over which you can exercise no control. 

Epictetus advises: “Focus not on what he or she does, but on keeping to your higher purpose.” He assures that if you truly live in tune with your will and resolve, and in harmony with your inner self, nobody’s words or actions (barring extreme cases) can disturb your mental equipoise.

Duty of any kind is not to be slighted. A person should not be judged by the nature of his duties, but by the manner in which he performs his duties. 

In his discourse on Karma Yoga Swami Vivekananda says: “A shoemaker who can turn out a strong, nice pair of shoes in the shortest possible time is a better man, according to his profession and his work, than a professor who talks nonsense every day of his life”.

Fatigue lies in half-heartedness. 

By doing wholeheartedly, with total sincerety, and with full zest and enthusiasm, whatever work which is in our hands right now at this very moment, we make ourselves happy. 

The key is to work with freedom and love and without too much expectation. 

Try to accomplish something wherever you are and do not compare with others. Comparison and Competition are at the root of all envy and negative feelings.

Undue hankering after rewards will render you akin to a slave of your expectations.

You must work for your own internal satisfactionwork like a master and not as a slave.

This glorious attitude to life and knowledge of your self makes you free in a world of dependencies and enables you to flower where God has sown you, to bloom wherever God plants you.

" Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir "Wherever God plants you, there you must learn how to bloom.
You must know how to flower where God has sown you.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.




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