The Slow & Steady


So once again, and this has happened umpteen number of time with me now, I failed to honour my own commitment. I commit and then I fail & this is now a regularity; a norm than an exception. & this is not about failing on commitments that I made to others but more so about what I promised to myself. And that’s more painful… really!

And I think it is only this reason; failure to meet my own commitments; that differentiates b/w me & the greats. If we look at the lives of saints and gurus we find one quality that was critical to their success. The quality that sets them apart was diligent commitment to their life’s goal. The secret to their success was that they stuck to their goals through rain or shine, through smooth or rough waters.

We know so many people who attained goals in the fields of sports, the sciences or the arts have accomplished wonders through their commitment. I read somewhere that Sachin Tendulkar, even today practices daily. In the same connection, allow me to narrate an anecdote from the life of Rabindranath Tagore that I read about a week back. He established Shantiniketan and would work hard there every day. Once, Mahatma Gandhi was visiting him. They both spent time together, discussing topics of interest to them both. Following lunch, Gandhi went to take rest when some of the ashram workers; actually followers of Tagore approached him.

“Can you help us Gandhiji?” they asked. “What is it?” asked the Mahatma. “We are worried about the health of Rabindranath Tagore” they explained. “He is not keeping good health. The doctors advised him to take rest, but he refuses. After lunch, he immediately goes back to work and does not take a moment’s rest. We do not want his health to fail” Gandhi asked, “Why do you want me to tell him to rest?” they replied, “we know he will not go against your advise”

After Gandhi had rested awhile, he went to Tagore’s residence and saw that he was deeply immersed in his work. When Tagore looked up and saw Gandhi standing there he asked him, “Are you not comfortable that you have come out from your rest so soon?”

Gandhi replied, “I have come to ask you to take rest after your lunch so your health does not fail. You are not keeping fit these days.”

Tagore replied, “How can I do that? I must tell you the truth so that you will understand. When I was 12 I took a vow never to rest at any time during the day for any reason. Up to now I have kept to that vow. How many more years do I have to live? Why should I break that vow now?”

Tagore’s firm determination and commitment to his promise moved Gandhi. For 67 years Tagore had never rested during the day. Gandhi was impressed by his commitment to his goal and told him: “Now I know the secret of your success!”

So the moot question is why I usually end up making, at best, half hearted attempts? & because I believe that there are many like me, I seek answers on behalf of all my friends! Oblige!!!