Effort – Is the result a success or a failure?


This blog is Part 3 of a 4 Part Series to make Meditation part of our daily lives.

Our eight month old daughter has recently learnt how to stand up using a support. She puts one hand on any object of height, comes on to her knees, puts the other hand on the support and boom! I am standing up. I still remember the first time she did that – there was so much joy on her face, there was happiness in eyes and there was elation in her entire body. Children have an innocence in their actions. However, this has not been an easy journey for her. She has faltered innumerable times, hurt herself but there is bona-fide genuineness in her efforts each time she tried to stand up. I don’t know if she remembered each of her previous tries but I believe she was accepting and non-judgemental of her past efforts and results. Can we be non-judgemental and be accepting of our efforts and past actions by focusing on what we are trying to achieve and enjoying where we are on the journey. As we continue on our path to make meditation part of daily lives, we are going look at making non-judgement and acceptance part of our daily meditation.

Our mind records each and every detail of our activity through our sensory organs. We may not recollect all of it but it’s there. Emotions like fear and anger bring out these from our memory. As we grow more mature, due to these fears, our willingness to try new things tends to decrease, especially the things that may give us joy. In our minds it’s ok as a child to take time to learn new things but as we grow older and more mature that ability to learn should somehow reduce the time to learn because we know better. We are fearful of failure and fearful of being judged. We tend to become fearful of joy in our lives. There is only fear lest we forget that there is happiness in learning, there is beauty in falling every time and there is joy in getting up again.

It’s not unnatural for most of us to fear failure. Growing up, the education system rewarded success with recognition and awards and failure with exasperation and discontentment. The end goal is looked at rather than the fulfilment and satisfaction during the journey. As individuals we start associating happiness with success and sadness with failure. The results are mostly considered black or white. Coming back to our child, now she is making an effort to walk. Most of you who may have seen kids trying to do new things and consistently keep trying. Kids have this innate ability to consciously consistently try things again and again.

I have seen our daughter fall many a times, hitting her head to the ground, table, crying her heart out, or literally no emotion at all. But she doesn’t understand the various kinds of emotions – cry or laugh, she doesn’t understands the words easy or difficult – she just does. She doesn’t know any better Why? Because there is no judgement, there is complete acceptance of her actions and her results. Her mind doesn’t interpret things as accomplished or not. They just are!

Last week, we made an effort to create an intention, carry that intention during the day and reach out to it, when needed. However, at times, these intentions may not have the desired effect each time. Forget desired, it may not have had any effect. Before reaching out to our intention, we take a long breath to calm our mind and boom nothing happened! And we quick to say – this is never going to work, I am not going to do this again! Other thoughts then creep in that make us judge ourselves – I am not good enough! When something doesn’t happen we completely surround ourselves with negativity and blame ourselves or maybe others for the so-called failures. We don’t look at our efforts on a scale of opportunities to try and practice. Just like time is a creation of human mind, successes and failure are too!

This week, we look at being non-judgemental and acceptance as part of our daily meditation. We create a daily intention, reach out to it during the day, when needed and review it all at the end of the day. By being non-judgemental and accepting of actions, we learn what we could have done better. We take that learning and try to do better the next day. The learnings may seem too small or too slow but they are there. Take the example of a Chinese Bamboo tree that takes about 4 years to develop its roots and the next six weeks to grow 80 feet tall. We feel that nothing is happening as we don’t see the tree growing but the tree is grounding itself, creating a solid foundation. With conscious consistent effort things happen. Trust and have faith, be non-judgemental and accepting and above all – enjoy the process. Joy and happiness is in enjoying what is.

2 thoughts on “Effort – Is the result a success or a failure?

  • Great post. But how do you explain intent and perseverance at a workplace that is only interested in outcome and that too in the short term?

    • Great question Vedha! You may not be able to change the external environment around you – that’s why you need to work on yourself to make sure you are able to manage your inside. I also feel most people are rational and having a conversation and showing them the entire picture helps. Short-term gains don’t last for long – it may benefit for a little while but will fade away shortly. If you are looking for extrinsic satisfaction, it will be momentary but intrinsic satisfaction will keep you at peace. Hope this helps.

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