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Question: How do I cope with the stress that is likely to come in the next four years?
Acharya Prashant: Let’s understand this situation right now.
(Acharya Ji is talking to the first year students of a premier Engineering institution of India. The duration of the entire course is four years).
Are you all stressed right now?
Acharya Prashant: You aren’t. But there is a thought of stress already building up. There is the (emphasising on the word ‘thought’) thought of stress. Are you getting it?
Several of you are listening quite attentively. Aren’t you? Is there any stress? But now if in this moment I run a movie here that shows the kind of stress some engineering and medical students have experienced in the past, then you will be stressed out. Right? So, what is stress?
Questioner: It is the workload, the pressure that one takes upon oneself.
Acharya Prashant: How?
Questioner: Take any situation. The situation may be easy, but we make it difficult by developing some pressure.
Listener 1: Sir, it’s a kind of a mental perception of the moment, which one is not able to cope up with.
Acharya Prashant: This feeling, this perception, where does it come from? Now these four years aren’t there yet.
At present, there is only you, there is only me, and there is this moment. There is no stress in this moment. It’s light, so very light. We are just chatting. Aren’t we? I can surely say that you are not exerting any kind of pressure on me, and hopefully I too am not exerting any pressure on you.
These questions that you have written are all your questions, I don’t even know what must have you written. No guidelines, no framework, it’s so open-ended. Yet few of you may experience stress if you are thinking about something else.
We will do a small experiment right now. You all will start thinking about your ambitions. Does along with ambition come the thought of possible frustration of ambition, that – “I may not achieve my targets,” and it becomes stress?
In really living, in being there, is no stress.
But in anticipation, in planning, in targeting, in desirous thinking, there is a lot of stress.
Now what are those years you are talking about? Are they series of incidents, or are they one block? We have already spent three to five minutes already in this discussion. Has it not been a series of moments? If I can spend each moment attentively, where is the stress?
Now I know where stress is.
You all must have written questions and would be eager to ask them as well. But at the same time you must be thinking that what others would think of you, if you raise this question. That always happens with the audience of any size; fifty or five hundred. In fact, this is my preferred mode of communicating with an audience – that you write down whatever questions you have in your mind, and then you can raise those questions.
Now you have written down the questions and you really want to raise them. And when I am responding to the first question, there are five-ten of you thinking – “You know I too have a question. My turn will also come.” And they are the ones who are stressed out.
Do you see this?
There are some of you who are absorbed in listening to what I am saying in this moment. There are some of you who are absorbed in listening to what is happening right now. There are some who are busy planning as to how they will raise their question in future.
Which of these two is to be likely too stressed?
Listeners: The ones who are planning.
Acharya Prashant: The ones who are planning, the ones who are anticipating will be stressed out. The ones who go completely with the flow, listen completely, and ask when the occasion comes, will not be stressed. It’s all so fluid. Where is the stress?
I am with a particular book; I am reading that book. There are two situations. One – I may be completely into the book. Second – the moment when I am reading the book, I am also thinking about the examination, about whether this particular chapter is likely to appear in the examination, and which question and of what type may come from this chapter. Then I would be stressed out.
Are you getting this?
Two people have a book of mechanics in their hands. One student is just fully occupied with the book. He is there, and the book is there, and nothing else is there. And the other is thinking whether such and such question will appear in the examination, or should he study some other chapter. Examination is in the future; it is not in the present. And if when he is with the book, he is thinking, he is anticipating the future, then he would be stressed out.
There is no stress till you create it; you are the creator of stress.
Life is not stress at all.
Our mind, our desirous mind thinks it to be so.
It makes stress, it creates stress.
Do not create stress.
Watch the session video: How do I cope with the stress of future? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2013)
The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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