When we encounter failure, there are multiple choices to cope with the situation. One is to either identify with the failure and keep complaining or blame the circumstances which caused the failure. Or else, just step back and analyze without any emotional identification with the failure, what really happened and if possible, try again by avoiding the mistakes. The third option is to move on to the next or different goal but after having trained the mind to step back and observe.
This practice is not easy (but neither is physical exercise!) and the result cannot and will not be immediate.
But, determination and the knowledge that once the identification with the reaction reduces even slightly, `Joy' (a stress-free state) manifests, can be the motivation to persist in this effort.
The other important step is to start `accepting' circumstances or persons as they are. Here, there is a very fine dividing line between ‘accepting' and `not acting'. Accepting means you observe but do not judge. A set of circumstances may not be what one wants and effort may be made to overcome the same but there is no worry, anger or concern.
The fact that the circumstances have arisen cannot be wished away. They have to be faced. This calm facing of circumstances and deciding to act as one deems appropriate, is a major step in one's evolution towards joy. Time being wasted on reacting or complaining about what is happening or has happened leads nowhere. Similar and even more damaging is the reaction to the words of persons. We have seen that each individual has his / her own temperament. By reacting, we create problems or unhappiness for ourselves. The way to handle is to evaluate unemotionally the words or actions and if required, accept them at face value or discard them. When the actions impact us or prevent us from achieving our goals we have to counteract but there is no active like or dislike with regard to the persons involved.
I have seen in the business world that many persons cannot take negative feedback and the only way they will react will be to discredit the motives of the persons giving the feedback or blame the circumstances than accept the words and see what the root cause of the problem has been. This `reaction' actually prevents the person or the organization from improving. This arises from complete identification with either the action done (on which the negative feedback was made) or in general the organization as a whole.
The practice of evaluating unemotionally and accepting what is happening can be done when the identification with either the action or the reaction is stopped or reduced at least.
Out of the force of past ways of thinking, many times the reaction and identification which one is used to will arise. The Mind has to be trained to allow one not to carry on feeding that reaction but step back. At first, it will seem difficult but persistence will have its dividends.
The moment the avoidance of identification with the action or reaction becomes a `tendency' or ‘habit', one becomes a suitable instrument for living a Life of Joy. The ability not to identify but continue to act to the best of one's capability means one has plunged fully into the river of joy which Life can be when one identifies oneself with the Joy within (which is one's true Self) and not the external circumstances.
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(The author is the Joint Managing Director, TVS & Sons Ltd., and MD, TVS Logistics)