Thursday, July 20, 2006

You get the best of my...

The Fourth Agreement: Always do your best

Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you are expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite: They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action. And that’s the reason why they don’t do their best.

So here’s the problem with this. What if you don’t love the action that you need to take? How can you do your best then? Let’s look at it practically and not conceptually. I am working at a client site. There is a complex set of reasons why I am there – for financial, professional and practical reasons. I have duties and responsibilities and obligations to myself, my company, my family and my client. Not necessarily in that order and not necessarily at the same level of – but I do. I am there to perform a job, whether I like it or not.

And often times in such situations, I have no choice or voice in performing the task at hand. I just have to. There is no question of love or non-love for the task at hand. There cannot not be an expectation for reward – the reward may not necessarily be materialistic but it certainly is very personal. I may need to complete the job at hand to move on to something bigger. Not necessarily better, just different and more interesting.

What are we saying here? That every task no matter how small and how insignificant and how trivial and how simplistic should never be or become a problem? That if done selflessly, without the ego responding to it in terms of stress or expectation or frustration, will always become an act of love? No matter what the content and structure of the act itself might be?

I suppose that’s the message here…. In the Bhagwad Gita there is a Sanskrit shloka that expresses just this:

Karmanye vadhika raste maa faleshu kadachan.(
To do action without attachment and without desiring the fruits of actions.)