Importance of sharpening the mind (Meditation)
- June 7, 2020
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Motivational
Today I have selected an important topic for the Sunday Success Sutra. Let me first share a story. Then I will relate this with your preparation
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” –Abraham Lincoln
It was the annual lumberjack competition and the final was between an older, experienced lumberjack and a younger, stronger lumberjack. The rule of the competition was quite simply who could fell the most trees in a day was the winner.
The younger lumberjack was full of enthusiasm and went off into the wood and set to work straight away. He worked all through the day and all through the night. As he worked, he could hear the older lumberjack working in another part of the forest and he felt more and more confident with every tree he felled that he would win.
At regular intervals throughout the day, the noise of trees being felled coming from the other part of the forest would stop. The younger lumberjack took heart from this, knowing that this meant the older lumberjack was taking a rest, whereas he could use his superior youth and strength and stamina to keep going.
At the end of the competition, the younger lumberjack felt confident he had won. He looked in front of him at the piles of felled trees that were the result of his superhuman effort.
At the medal ceremony, he stood on the podium confident and expecting to be awarded the prize of champion lumberjack. Next to him stood the older lumberjack who looked surprisingly less exhausted than he felt.
When the results were read out, he was devastated to hear that the older lumberjack had chopped down significantly more trees than he had. He turned to the older lumber jack and said: “How can this be? I heard you take a rest every hour and I worked continuously through the night. What’s more, I am stronger and fitter than you old man”.
The older lumberjack turned to him and said: “Every hour, I took a break to rest and sharpen my saw”
The first lumberjack then realized why the second lumberjack was chopping trees down faster, not because he was working harder, but because he was coming back to work sharper!
Story of two UPSC aspirants
There were two UPSC aspirant. One was very enthusiastic, full of energy. He joined various coaching institutes and subscribed to all the online websites and test series. He used to go to library at 6 am in the morning and used to study till 10 pm in the night. He used to compare his study hours with another UPSC aspirant who was his friend with whom he used to share his room and library. He felt very happy that he was putting more hours and energy into his preparation that his roommate. He used to continuously study throughout day. But because he used to run after huge material, notes and online test series, etc. most of the times he was full of doubts. He would never be satisfied with one material. Throughout day he will be hopping from one website to the.
On the other hand, his friend (roommate) used to first go for a walk and then sit for meditation in the morning. This was his morning ritual. He used to study in his room. In his room he used to for two hours at a stretch and then take time to meditate for a minute. In the evening he used to spend some time reading motivational book of Swami Vivekananda and Sunday Success Sutras by Santosh Sir. These books used to rejuvenate his mind and fill him with positivity. He used to study till 9 in the library and then go for dinner. In the night he used to review his work in form of Daily Progress Report. Before going to sleep he used to practice positive imagination in form of success manta given by his mentor. In a week he used to take time off and discuss his study progress with his mentor who suggested him course correction whenever he was off the track. This kept him going on the right track.
After one year, exam was nearing. The first UPSC aspirant was getting more and more nervous. He was getting suggestions to revise all the 500 tests he has attempted by the coaching institutes. Every institute has a different suggestion. He tried doing that in the last week hoping questions to come from them. Since the test papers were huge in number, he couldn’t complete it and felt anxious before exam. One day before exam he was so stressed that he couldn’t sleep properly. In the exam hall, he blindly followed advice to attempt more than 90 questions and ended up getting very poor marks.
However, the other aspirant who used to study at home used the last week to train his mind. He only revised some important topics and questions given by his mentor and spent most of the time calming his mind. He did trataka, positive visualization and followed the stoic wisdom shared by his mentor.
Inside exam Hall he went with this mindset:
He used intelligent guessing tricks:
Thus the other friend scored very high and easily cleared the cutoff.
When results were declared, the aspirant who used to study hard and follow all online test series came to this successful candidate for advice. He asked him how come with less number of hours, spending very less money, joining very few coaching class you manage to clear UPSC Prelims. The successful candidate smiled and replied I used to take small breaks and sharpen by axe i.e. mind. I never went mad after test series, I focused on traditional books, I always reviewed by progress, whenever I had doubt I took suggestion from my mentor. I focused on quality of study and not quantity.
Moral of the story:
In this battle/ journey of UPSC preparation only weapon which you have is your mind. If the mind is not sharpen, if the mind is not positive whatever the amount of hour you put be, it will not be productive. This is the reason I focus on spirituality and motivation. Follow Saturday Spiritual Talks and Sunday Success Sutra and keep yourself motivated. Always remember
In the end it is just a mind game.