Being an entrepreneur is like running a marathon. For some, success may come almost overnight, but mostly it’s a long, winding journey with a fair share of falling, adapting and growing. While defining one’s own path can give anyone an adrenaline rush, every entrepreneur knows what it feels like to be lost, miserable and unmotivated in the midst of all the madness.
The Bhagavad Gita is one of the of the most revered ancient texts in existence and is known to bring strength, inspiration, and solace to its seekers in every stage of their life. The Bhagavad Gita is set in the backdrop of the war of Kurukshetra. Pandava prince Arjuna, who is a great warrior, finds himself deeply perturbed and torn between his dharma as a kshatriya (warrior) and as kinsman to the Kauravas. He turns to his guide and charioteer, Lord Krishna for advice. The vast teachings of the Bhagavad Gita could be the trampoline in every entrepreneur’s life:
1. One must not deter from the goal
“karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadachana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango ’stv akarmani”
Often having a lack of clarity is why many of us settle for smaller dreams. As the Gita says, we are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal. As an entrepreneur, one might be distracted sometimes to take the easier path, but this shloka reminds us to be committed to our work and aim for a higher goal. At the same time, as one starts achieving and ascending greater heights, it is harmful to become feverish about results as one may lose balance quickly. In other words, stick to the path and yet learn to cherish the journey more than the destination.
2. Trust your own destiny
“Sreyan svadharmo vigunah paradharmat svanusthitat
Svadharme nidhanam sreyah paradharmo bhayavahah”
The grass always seems greener on the other side. It is the easier journey to find flaws in one’s own life and perfection in someone else’s. As an entrepreneur, there may be days when it would all seem so much easier to give it up and let someone else handle all the pressure. The shloka translates as – it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection. So, trust your own path, even though it may be thorny.
3. Render it through your will alone
“uddhared atmanatmanam natmanam avasadayet
atmaiva hy atmano bandhur atmaiva ripur atmanah”
The shloka translates as –
Build yourself through the power of your will and efforts and do not be let down by your own self. Will is the only friend of the self. Will power is a key ingredient in every entrepreneur’s’ journey. A seasoned entrepreneur needs to conquer his will first, and find inner strength which remains undeterred in both the hard times and the good times.
4. Manage your mind and emotions
“maatra-sparshas-tu kaunteya shitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah
agamapayino-anityas tams titiksasva bharata”
Every entrepreneur has his share of ups and downs. In such a life of unpredictability, it’s a good idea to stay calm and not get affected by these changes. As the Bhagavad Gita says, the mind acts like an enemy for those who do not control it. A person who is unwavering by contrasts of pain and pleasure, heat or cold and puts his friends and enemies in the same boat, such an equanimous being reaches great heights.
5. Move over greed and work for society
“tri-vidham narakasyedam dvāram nāśanam ātmanah
kāmah krodhas tathā lobhas tasmād etat trayam tyajet”
The biggest startups in the world today are focused on visions of a better society. Most of them are solving an existing problem and hence, serving society in the bigger picture. The shloka talks about looking beyond greed in this world surrounded by material pursuits, as anger and greed can be self-destructive. There are many distractions in the entrepreneur’s journey and it’s important to save your mind from them.
“Bhagavad Gita has the depth of the ocean and the vastness of the sky. Drops in the ocean and stars in the sky are not enough in comparison to the knowledge in the Gita. Don’t think the Gita got over a long time ago. It’s still going on every day in each and every person’s life.”