February 20, 2016

Swami Vivekananda’s Formula For Success

I’ve been a fan of Swami Vivekananda since my childhood. Other than his amazing talks, tales of his unbelievable feats always made me awestruck. Here’s one that tells about his success formula:

Once, in America, Swami Vivekananda was watching some boys. They were standing on a bridge trying to shoot at egg-shells that were floating on the river. The egg-shells bobbed up and down. The boys could not hit any of them. They fired the gun many times, but always missed the target! They noticed that Swami Vivekananda was watching them. So, they called out to him: “Well, you are watching us. Do you think you can do better?”
Swami Vivekananda smiled and said: “I will try.”
Then the boys said: “It’s not so easy as you think!”
Swami Vivekananda took the gun and aimed at the egg-shells. He stood very still for a few minutes. Then, he fired the gun. He fired twelve times, and every time he hit an egg-shell! The boys were very surprised. How could any man shoot egg-shells like that? They thought. They said to Swami Vivekananda: “Well, Mister, how did you do it? You must be a practised hand.”
Swami Vivekananda laughed and assured them he had never handled a gun before.
“Whatever you are doing,” he explained, “the secret of success lies in the power of concentration. Put your whole mind on it. If you are shooting, your mind should be only on the target. Then, you will never miss. If you are learning your lessons, think only of the lesson. In my country, boys are taught to do this.”

India, the land of Yoga, has long tradition of such practices that sharpen the mind and make it focused. Though, modern education system completely neglects this aspect of education that, according to me, is essential for learning any new skill and performing to the best of our abilities. Swami Vivekananda says:

The main difference between men and the animals is the difference in their power of concentration. All success in any line of work is the result of this. Everybody knows something about concentration. We see its results every day. High achievements in art, music, etc., are the results of concentration.