5 lessons from the Bhagvad Gita for every entrepreneur
We often run a Google search on the top industrial honchos to learn from their words of wisdom. However, we seem to have lost touch with our own rich intellectual heritage. Why not go back to our own roots, and learn from words of wisdom that are truly eternal? Our great epics (religious or not), surely have quotes that stand true to the modern times, even better than ever before. I am sure many of us must have explored or heard some great treasures hidden in ancient scripture Bhagvad Gita. Below are a few shloks which I tried to decode. I hope it will help entrepreneurs take away something from them.
“KarmanyeVadhikaraste Ma PhaleshuKadachana,
Ma Karma PhalaHeturBhurmaTeySangostvaAkarmani"
A lot has been said and heard about ‘karma’, but the true essence lies in these two simple lines. Every entrepreneur should focus on their work i.e. karma without anticipating the result or outcome. You should not concentrate so much on the final product and just enjoy the process of reaching there. We get swayed by our vision and rely on its success too much. We forget it is pivotal to enjoy the whole process rather than just hoping for something that you know is anyway uncertain. Remember, having hopes or being optimistic is not wrong, but without actions, your path will be dreadful.
The art lies in walking the tightrope and enjoy doing it. If the guy who walks the literal tightrope is scared or too excited, he will certainly fall. The trick to his success is that he enjoys it while he walks in order to reach the other end successfully.
“vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya
navani grhnati naro ’parani
tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany
anyani samyati navani dehi”
It is easy to say versatility and adaptation are the keys to success. But the biggest lesson for any entrepreneur is learning to adapt to changes quickly. Do not get stuck with your initial vision. Learn to adapt, innovate and implore new opportunities. Pave your journey like a traveller, who is not attached to the city he visits or the hotel he stays in but enjoys the experience of it all.
Do not be adamant; be innovative, open minded and ready to absorb experiences like a sponge. The faster you adapt to a change, the better it is. Remember, change is the only constant.
“krodhaadbhavatisammohahsammohaatsmritivibhramah | smritibhramshaadbuddhinaashobuddhinaashaatpranashyati ||”
It is imperative for all entrepreneurs to have control over their anger. With anger goes away our ability to reason and we tend to become delusional. The confusion and chaos generated by anger leads to memory loss. The individual is moved away from his purpose and goals. Anybody who seems to have forgotten their goals or lost their clarity of thought cannot succeed. Therefore, it is important for people to free themselves from anger. A simple solution to this problem is focus. Never lose your focus and never underestimate the virtue of patience.
"tasmad asaktah satatam karyam karma samacara
asakto hy acaran karma param apnoti purushah"
Inculcate the habit of being open to everything and being attached to nothing. Attachment does give strength to work and love beyond ourselves, but it also limits us and makes our journey and growth difficult, especially if the object of our desire is taken away from us. Too much desire can be bad, as it turns into greed. Greed takes you away from your true calling and dream, be it to achieve, create or innovate.
Do not be super attached to your work, as it makes your journey as an entrepreneur difficult and closed. You cannot wear binoculars and run the rat race. You have to keep an open mind about the ever-evolving market changes, adapt to them. Keep a close eye on your goals but do not get obsessive.
“dhumenavriyate vahnir yathadarso malena ca
yatholbenavrto garbhas tatha tenedam avrtam”
This simple shlok has the deepest meaning. It is like a dissuading curse – as everything pure has a covering that can often be misleading. For example, fire is covered with smoke, which prevents us from nearing it and if a mirror is covered in sheen, we cannot see what it is reflecting before removing the sheen. Similarly knowledge is covered with desire that we must ignore or get rid of. We must ignore the curtain of desire in order to imbibe knowledge that will help us grow. This isn’t as easy as it looks but wise man is one who knows what to avoid and what to select.