Introduction Most of everything we do and what we become is largely in our hands. We do have to put in all efforts and hard work in any given situation. If we do not make any effort, we will not go anywhere and it is foolish to attribute everything to some factors beyond our control. What exactly are these factors in some given situations? This requires a discussion as well. Let us understand that clearly. More specifically, we should understand a) What we can control b) What we cannot control c) What is the role of spirituality d) How can we go ahead and e) Learning to always do our best.
What we can control Let us imagine this situation. There are two students. Both neighbors in the same school and both in standard ten. One is a very serious student who has put in tremendous amount of hard work to always be the first or second in his class. The second person has been vastly distracted through a love affair with a girl in the same locality, but which did not work out. So, what has happened?
It is the utilization of time. Of correct and wrong focus. Of being dutiful and being distracted. One would obviously go ahead in his life. The other fellow may have to explore other alternatives only after he knows his scores in his public examination.
It is very much within the control of parents to teach every child, good values. To teach them everything good about life, about all close relatives, neighbors, and friends. While very good control should be exercised to check the social circle of each child, weaning him or her away from bad influences is crucial too. Each of these actions is very much necessary for all parents. It is stupid to claim that either or both parents is/are busy at all times. Efforts are something that we need to focus at the right time. For example, spirituality cannot be taught when the child is eighteen. It has to start from the age of two or three. He or she should be molded. Is it not common to see children take up spirituality with a good zeal and also excel in studies? Is it not possible to understand that every minute of our existence is based on our own assessment of what is good or bad?
For that matter, how do people in Mumbai travel one hundred and eighty kilometers on any given day, and yet be active? How is that they are always street smart? The environment is also very important. When everyone is active, the result is what we call infectious enthusiasm.
Let us remember, FATE is something that happens to us, inevitably, after all our efforts, but not without them. If we observe the undercurrents of each situation in our life,we can easily understand the role of our efforts. Nothing happens without our efforts in any given situation.
What we cannot control There are only two things we just cannot control. One is birth. Another is death. The latter can be postponed a little bit. For example, even terminal cancer patients are kept alive through modern medicine to some extent, before they are gone.
The third event, which everybody thinks is something that we cannot control, is marriage. This may be true to some extent, but even here, for the marriage to work, special efforts by the man and his wife are absolutely essential. If the wavelength is not there.there are mindset issues galore and the marriage may go to dogs.
Let us take specific situations. We need to travel by a private bus from city A to city B. The bus takes off at 11 PM. Our entire life depends on the driver. If he is good and skillful, there is every chance that we will be very safe. If the bus meets with an accident, and we are gone, it is our bad luck. However, except for last-minute emergencies, can we travel by much safer trains? Or even air? Yes, we can.
Similarly, it is also very much in our hands to try and book a seat near a window on the right hand and right in the middle. The logic is that such a seating arrangement might minimize all the risk involved. While we cannot control the risk, we can positively control the effect of the risk. Yes, even train accidents happen. People do die. But it never happens every day.
Wise elders always explain that divine help is essential to ward away such unfortunate events. It is absurd to argue that atheists do not meet with an accident. Or any accident.
Yes, we cannot control the rain. However, rainwater harvesting is very much in our hands. Through community work, hundreds of localities in many cities are very clean. There are hundreds of thousands of people who have concern for the poor people, on an everyday basis. Should we call all this, "fate" as well?
The answer is that it is not fate. The same "fate" can be multiplied manifold, if only we try. There are still very rich people. They can still spare money for the poor and the downtrodden. Efforts do make a huge difference.
What is the role of spiritualityEven elementary common sense would teach us that spirituality does make a huge difference in our lives. Fear of God is essential to help us understand what is good and what is bad.
It is very much true that those who are spiritual, tend to take a big philosophical value of life. This leads to better happiness and better peace of mind. It also leads to far better decisions being made about career advancement, about savings and so on. There have been hundreds of instances where the richest of people who are also spiritual, have reached out to thousands of people through philanthropy.
Spirituality does help us to mitigate the negative effects of fate as we understand it. It helps us to have a smoother flow in life when the good will always overtake the negative effects or situations. It is hence very much essential that there should be some sort of spiritual orientation in each of us. However, overdoing it as many people do, will always prove counter-productive, as we would have lost precious time and then we would blame God for our shortcomings or bad times.
How we can go aheadEntrepreneurship, for example, requires one solid idea. It revolves around one unmet need in a particular environment. It is essential that we understand the gap between demand and supply and then go ahead at milking that gap.
We can, for example, always do some small business to keep us going. If we are caught up in dead-end jobs, we can shift to ones where the nature of job would facilitate a huge amount of learning. We can shift to locations where the water problem is not severe. We can educate our children in good schools, where value-based education is a way of life. We can educate our children in really very good job-oriented courses. We can always teach them what is good or bad. Making children listen to us is something that we need to cultivate even when the child is just two years old. For every simple effort of ours, we can always see the positive effect too.
Yes, we should learn from successful people. We should learn from people who lead value-based lives. We should learn from others every day. We should shun bad habits. We should resort to simple but healthy diets. Doing all this will enable us to go far ahead in life. If we miss out on any single detail, we can only blame everything on "fate" and then be left behind. We need to pull the bull by its horns and then take it forward.
Learning to always do out best This is one vital aspect of life. We need to understand what is the best and how to get a piece of that action. For example, if the CAT examination is tough (it always is) we should get prepared through tremendous hard work. Mere hard work is not enough. The influence of good friends who would be preparing for the same is also essential.
Similarly, we can positively invest some money in getting an RO water purifier installed in our houses. The Rs.5000 that we need to spend on yearly maintenance is worth the expenditure. Divide that amount by 12 and it comes to around Rs.11 per day. This is sure insurance against hundreds of possible infections.
It is insurance for our lives. We can and should keep our houses clean. We should immediately dispose of papers that we no longer need. We can take adequate precautions when we travel outside. We can always wear helmets and avoid overtaking heavy vehicles on highways to the extent possible. If we follow what should be ideally done in any given situation, we will realize that we are far better placed and happier.
Conclusion Once we understand the role of hard work and our efforts in any given situation, we can easily understand that we have had a totally inappropriate and inadequate understanding of the concept of fate. Many have totally absurd arguments to put forward their own philosophies. None of that is true. We can and should, always put in extra efforts. We can then see the new directions in our lives.