the great paradox of life and success

the great paradox of life and success

“You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction. Perform work in this world, Arjuna, as a man established within himself – without selfish attachments, and alike in success and defeat. For yoga is perfect evenness of mind.”

The Bhagavad Gita, 2:47-48 (translation by Eknath Easwaran)

An integral part of the human condition that we all share is that oftentimes we find ourselves and our ability to be happy and feel successful attached to a desired outcome. And when that outcome doesn’t happen, we get disappointed, hurt and sad. So how do we overcome this misery and cultivate a more balanced approach in our lives? By practicing detachment. By letting go and simply choosing to be happy right here, right now. Instead of chasing happiness in external pursuits, learn to start living from a place of happiness. 

Detachment, hence, presents to us the great paradox of life and success: If we want to achieve or acquire something, we must relinquish our attachment to having it. We must learn to become self-sufficient and understand that the only genuine source of happiness, success, joy, and security is to live our true selves and engage in actions that resonate best with us. When we choose to live authentically and focus on meaning and fulfillment, detachment becomes easier and comes to us naturally.

Wayne Dyer once said, “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.” Why delay your happiness until you reach a far and distant milestone when you can choose to experience it today? When you take meaningful actions every day, be content with your efforts and simply practice detachment from outcomes, life becomes a whole lot easier.

Here’s the bottom line: There’s no point in attaching your ability to be happy and successful on external conditions. Success and happiness lie in the journey, not in the destination. When you understand this notion and start living it day in and day out, you embrace a life of true detachment.