In today’s stressful world, maintaining a work-life balance seems to be something in everyone’s mind. How should one do it? One goes to work for at least 8 hours, travels at least 2 hours to reach work, spends atleast 6 hours sleeping – where then is the time for life? When all this is a constant feature in our lives, then what is it that needs balancing? In my opinion it is the Self that needs balancing. Whether at work or at home, if one approaches life with a sense of contentment and not as a ‘punishment’ or as a ‘guilt transferring’ exercise, we can live through our life with a sense of fulfillment. Right? And how exactly are we supposed to do this? Simple. Treat every day of life as a Festival, a Celebration.
Let’s talk about how celebrating a Festival can teach us how to be exceptional in life and enjoy it to the hilt. What do we do during any Festival? We –
- Do Tapasya ie. Focused goal-oriented work
- Become Spiritually inclined ie. we turn our attention to a superior power, become positive minded, have welfare for others in mind, etc.
- Become Sattvik in our thoughts and food consumption.
- Pray for others (family, relatives and friends) before we think of ourself.
- Enjoy with everyone around both, during and after, the work.
There are 2 reasons why we partake in Festivities –
- We are expected to do it. In this case it is more as a forced duty and so we tend to become a little irritated as soon as we get tired; we also make others feel guilty or complain if things don’t work our way.
- We do it of our own will. We accept responsibility to do the work either because we love doing it or because we understand that we have to do it and we are capable of doing it.
The way we approach our everyday life in either of the above two choices actually dictates how we respond to our situations.
There are 2 ways that we usually follow to see to it that the arrangements are well done and everyone enjoys –
- We make a list of all the work to be done and we tick them off the list as and when it is completed so that no task is left over for the uncertain future.
- We may take a while to get started but we try to do it right the first time.
This is the only way to approach work too – if one wants to be successful in what one does, one has to plan for the actions to reach the goal. As far as possible, one should work in such a way that the element of error is reduced. This also makes one finish the tasks on time.
While celebrating our Festivals, do we think even once as to how much was work and how much was enjoyment? No. That is because we lived in the moment and were filled with positivity.
Does the “Boss” (spouse) of the house appreciate us after every festivity? Do we really wait for his/her appreciation? No. This is because we want to satisfy ourselves first that we have done a good job. And when we are satisfied, we become supremely confident about ourselves … This has to be our approach to every work we do, because when we are confident about our sincere contribution, it translates to appreciation from others too.
What about results? We ask God to bless us but do we ever give Him/Her a timeframe by which we should be blessed? No. This is because we keep the faith in God as well as in our Tapasya. We should approach our work environment also in the same way. Do not be disheartened when you don’t receive that increment or promotion instantly. Just do a good job – the rest will follow; that is the way of the Universe.
Sometimes while preparing many items for offering to God or for cooking for others, we give least attention to the simplest ‘Prasad’. We never taste it before offering, so it is only later that we realize that we forgot to put some ingredient in the ‘Prasad’. Pay attention to small details and don’t take anything for granted in your work too. That concrete mixture becomes strong only when small stones are mixed with the cement. Even small details strengthen your character, your profile. And this is not limited to the abstract. People too are taken for granted by us many a times. Give equal importance to your colleagues and juniors just as much as you would, to your seniors. At home don’t take your in-laws and especially your spouse for granted. They too deserve equal attention.
When the festival comes to an end, we always have a prayer for the future. Our vision too must be about the future whether it is at work or at home. Earn to Save and Save to Spend. Enjoy the fruits of your labour because what is life all about if not a Celebration!
(This was part of the speech given on International Woman’s Day 2019, as a panelist, at Shipping Corporation of India, Mumbai.)