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Question 1: How to develop the capacity to take right decisions?
Speaker: Right decisions spring from right life. We focus so much on the art of decision-making. Even management institutes teach that, right? Somebody is teaching mathematical modeling for decision-making, somebody is teaching strategic decision-making. What they don’t tell is the most fundamental thing – that the quality of your life is the quality of all your decisions.
An ambitious life is going to make ambitious decisions. A scared life is going to make scared decisions. If you want to make the right decisions, then live a right life. The right decision will automatically come from there. Then you don’t even have to worry about a particular decision. All your decisions will be right.
Also remember: you regret only a few decisions. You say, “I took ten decisions, out of which two went wrong.” And you regret them, right? You don’t regret everything. But I am guaranteeing you that if decisions are wrong, then it is not just two decisions that are wrong. It is all ten that are wrong. It is just that you caught two decisions as being wrong. It is just that those two decisions made their effects so visible and apparent that you could say that they have gone wrong. The other eight too are wrong. It is just that right now you are incapable to see how wrong your other eight decisions are.
From the wrong life, everything that emerge will be wrong. Even the simplest decision will be wrong. You will not even know which seat to take in an auditorium. You will not know when to drink water. You will not know which clothes to wear. Even the most trivial decisions will be wrong. You will not know what kind of hair to keep. You will not know how to address your servant. No decision will be right from a wrong mind. It’s a great punishment, is it not?
To have the right decision, live rightly. Be aware at every point. Live in remembrance. Be close to the world, but don’t indulge in it. Live in the Truth.
When you live in the Truth, then all your decisions in the world are right.
Speaker: How do you know anything? Right now, how do you choose anything? (Pointing at the watch the questioner is wearing) How did you choose that watch in your hand? How did you choose this denim that you are wearing?
Listener 1: It looks good.
Speaker: Looks good! And this watch is comfortable on your wrist? This one too seems comfortable. So what is the problem with choosing a technical domain? If it looks good, choose it. Visit the university, and if it looks good, choose (laughter). Or is there a fundamental difference? If we are comfortable with choosing in this way, then why not make another choice this way? So many people here are of a marriageable age. How will you choose your spouses? Looks good!!!
Looks good! What is the problem in choosing like that? If you are alright with choosing everything that looks good, sounds good, is driven by situations, like your presence over here today, then choose.
Listener 2: In case of these outfits, I had already tried a couple of them earlier. So I had some idea that these too would be of same kind. But in case of subject of interest, I have not already tried all of the domains. So, I cannot say anything about them.
Speaker: (Again pointing at the wrist watch) Have you ever worn this wrist watch earlier?
Listener 2: I have worn the one of the same kind.
Speaker: Of the same kind. So, there is hardly any difference between a new university and the college that you are in right now. The difference is only in degree, not in dimension. A university offers hundred courses, a college offers eight courses. A university might be two-hundred acres, a college is twenty acres. The difference is only in degree. So, a kid wears a kiddish wrist watch, grown-ups wear a branded wrist watch. A wrist watch is a wrist watch. Fundamentally it is a machine, dealing with time.
So, just as you have been making all your choices till now, also choose your technical domain of interest. Or, be sharp about the real problem that you are facing. If you are intelligent enough, capable enough, and smart enough to choose a wrist watch, then he should also be intelligent and capable enough to choose the field of higher studies. Why are you hesitating here?
You make a thousand decisions every day, don’t you? And you don’t come and complain that – “I do not know what decision to make.” You make those decisions, and you live with them. Now here, another decision is to be made. What makes you confused?
Listener 2: Sir, the lack of sureness is regarding how well I would be able to do in that particular field.
Speaker: What do you mean by ‘doing well’?
Listener 2: Feeling comfortable with every aspect of it.
Speaker: What exactly does that mean?
Listener 2: Liking it.
Speaker: Try it.
Just as you try your clothes in the change room, try this too. Or, ask others. And sometimes you don’t even try. You know sometimes it happens that you might not feel particularly comfortable in jeans, but if everybody else is wearing jeans, if it’s a fashion, then you are okay with it. You might be little uncomfortable, and we all know that jeans are not the most uncomfortable piece of clothing, yet you keep wearing jeans because everybody else is wearing it. Similarly, ask people how they feel in that particular university. Ask people who are already in that field. And if they say, “Yes, we are feeling good, you too can do that,” then choose it. That is how we have been taking all our decisions.
Do you really know about this ring that you are wearing in your finger?
Listener 2: No.
Speaker: But you are wearing it. So, wear a degree also.
Either admit that you do not know anything, that all your decisions are simply absurd. Or say, “Just as I have been making all my other decisions, I will make this one as well.” If you are sure of all the other decisions that you make in life, why are you not sure about this one?
Let me tell you the fact. The fact is you do not know a thing. You do not know why you are wearing this ring, you do not know anything about this wrist watch, you know nothing about your jeans, you know nothing about your college, you know nothing why you have chosen a few friends, you do not really know why you are here right now. You do not know anything.
You do not know why you are attracted towards something, you do not know why you are repulsed towards something. You do not know anything. That is not so bad. What is worse is, that you think that without knowing anything you can make one isolated right decision. That is supremely ignorant and arrogant of you.
With everything falling to pieces, with everything going wrong, you hope to take one right decision. How is it possible? With a machine that produces only defective goods, because it is fundamentally, wrongly configured, you hope to produce one batch of beautiful goods. Is it possible? Is it possible to take one right decision with this mind, that is a fundamentally defective manufacturing unit? If a machine that manufactures, is defective, how many defective pieces it will produce?
Speaker: But our friend thinks that one right piece can be produced. How? How will that happen?
You want to pursue technology. Technology is related to science. Science does not want to deal with falsehood, at least that is what it claims. First of all confront the Truth. And the truth is, that right decisions can be made only with the right mind. Right now whether you are listening to me or not is also a decision that you have made. Will you make the right decision? I do not know.
What do you ride? A bike? A car? What do your ride?
Listener 2: Both.
Speaker: Both. You have a car. It has a flat tyre. You want to drive five hundred kilometers. What do you do? You keep going, you rush ahead? Or, do you stop? You stop, and you change the tyre. With this kind of a tyre where would you go? Where would you reach? But you say, “No, changing tyre is a waste of time. How can I invest my Sundays in this? I am in a hurry. I have to cover five hundred kilometers. I cannot stop to service the machine. I cannot stop to change the tyre. I cannot stop to look at the health of my car. I have to reach. I am in a hurry to reach.”
Why did the tyre get flat? Because you were in a hurry. What will ensure that you do not change the flat tyre? Your hurry. The same thing that corrupts the mind, is the same thing that prevents the mind from cleaning up the corruption. Understand this.
Today if your decisions are all misplaced, it is because of the mind. And if the mind does not want to correct itself, it is making another bad decision in a serious of thousand bad decisions. A thousand bad decisions you have already made, and you want to make the next one as well, which is to not to correct the mind which made those decisions. And obviously the mind will make no decision other than this decision, because it is accustomed to making only wrong decisions.
This is a very simple question. A very, very simple question. The fish knows in which direction to swim. Or does it not? You too will know what to study, which technical field to choose, but only when you live in water as simply as the fish lives. The fish knows in which direction to swim. Have you ever seen a confused fish? Have you ever seen career counseling centers for fish?
(Sarcastically) And the fishes are going, everyone queued up. And one fish is asking, “What will happen after we are dead?” One fish wants to become a shark; obviously a shark of the Atlantic ocean, not of the Indian Ocean.
(Sarcastically) Desi sharks? Who wants them? Must be a fair colored shark, an Ivy League shark.
The fish knows. The wind knows. The seasons know. Everything knows. Why don’t you know? Why are you so confused? The stars know.
Look around you. Everything knows. Everything is perfectly sure and certain. And you don’t even know what to eat. Had it been in your control you would have allowed yourself to be confused in whether to breathe or not. That is why this power has not been given to you.
Seriously, that is why breathing happens on its own. Otherwise you will get confused. The heart pumps on its own. Otherwise you will be doing things with the heart. “I have an Ivy League heart. It must beat faster.” Thankfully you have no say in that.
You will know. The answer will come to you very, very smoothly. And the answer will come to you without your effort. You will simply know.
And you will know in moments when you have not even planned to know. Generally talking to somebody, something will become clear. Generally while reading the newspaper, something will become clear. Sometimes even without deciding, the decision will come to you. But for that, as I said, you will have to live as the fish lives in the sea: smoothly, without resistance.
In genuine, natural, freedom and wisdom, decisions become simple. There is hardly anything left to decide. You are not wondering, pondering, setting up a committee, and the committee is taking six years to submit its report. “What to do?” Chewing your nails! “What to do?”
Have you seen people trying to decide, whom to marry? How confused? “What will happen?” And then she will ask, “Sir, when did soul come into their kid’s body?” It never came. Soulless marriage, soulless child!
Whatever happens out of your deliberate decision, out of your thinking, can have no soul really. And here when I say ‘soul’, I mean – the Truth, the essence, the reality. I am assuring this to you- whenever you will decide upon something, it will not have the same quality as is there in spontaneous action. Never!
But to act spontaneously you will have to feel a little free. You will have to allow yourself to relax. You will have to say to yourself, “Things are alright. I can chill out.”
Decision-making is not at all a complicated science or an art. “Sir, I do not know what to do?” How do you not know what to do? Explain that first. It is not a question about what to do. The bigger question is – how do you not know what to do? How did you manage this? It’s a miracle.
Live rightly and the right decisions will start springing. You will then not have to plan, or deliberately decide anything. Right actions will start happening on their own.
– Excerpts from a Clarity Session held at Advait Sthal. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: How to take right decisions?
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