Tuesday, November 19, 2013

the potential to be great!

Verse 4.28: Having accepted strict vows, some become enlightened by sacrificing their possessions, and others by performing severe austerities, by practicing the yoga of eightfold mysticism, or by studying the Vedas to advance in transcendental knowledge.

The Olympics. Although I rarely think of the Olympics when they aren't on tv, by the time they roll around I am hooked and gripped in Olympic-fever.

These talented individuals not only make everything they do look easy but they do so with such focus, determination and confidence. Although the external draw may be the palpable drama and uncertainty of not knowing who will win the gold, there's a huge lesson that we can learn from these individuals.

Everyone has the potential to be great; it just requires proper coaching, faith and focus.

These three elements are necessary for success in all endeavors and even more so when specializing and trying to excel.

1. Proper coaching - this one element could arguably be the most important component to achieving success. Everything else stems from it. Not only does a coach, teacher, guru or guide enable one to learn and hone their skills, such persons provide a support system which is something we all need and crave.

As living beings, we are inspired by loved and encouragement and that's exactly what a qualified coach provides. They also serve as motivators who push us to do more than we ever believe ourselves to be possible of. This is why the concept of guru or a qualified teacher, is brought up again and again in the bhakti texts. It is not only integral to yoga but to life itself.

2. Faith - without having strong conviction that our pursuits are worthy and that we are capable of accomplishing them, it's extremely easy to get distracted and quit. That's why it is important to remember that our faith must constantly be fed. It's not a one time thing! When we associate ourselves with individuals who not only believe in us but are also pursuing a similar path or goal, our faith naturally increases. That's why like-minded association is invaluable.

3. Focus - focus is the result of having a solid foundation of support (through coaching) and faith. It's what allows us to sacrifice and set aside our short-term desires for the long-term goal. Similar to faith, it is something that has to be constantly fed and one of the ways to keep it alive and well is by controlling the mind. The Gita specifically talks about this at length and gives the answer to how we can become focused - through practice and detachment. We continue to do our very best everyday and if we become distracted, we do not dwell on it but pick ourselves up and get back on track.

It's important to remember though that these principles which can lead one to greatness are not reserved for a selected few but are available to everyone. The fact is we all have the potential to be great and are meant for greatness!


  1. Oh, I love the Olympics, too, especially gymnastics - always blows me away! I love how you've used the needs for proper athletic training as an analogy for our spiritual growth. How true they are! Coaching, faith, and focus go hand-in-hand if greatness is to be achieved.

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