A situation is a challenge only when you feel something about you is at stake || Acharya Prashant (2015)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.


Questioner: What is the right way to look at a challenge?

Shri Prashant: When do you call something a ‘challenge’?

Listener 1: When there is a hurdle in it.

SP: When do you call something a ‘hurdle’?

Listener 1: If I want to earn my living, at what level should I stop being greedy about it?

SP: Let us a take a very live example. One of our friends, a few minutes back, initiated a discussion about dreams. He asked a question related to dreams. While answering, how do I know where to pause, or stop, or when to initiate a new topic? It just happens.

Also you talked about challenge and hurdle. You lobbed a question at me. When would the question become a challenge for me? When would I say, “Oh my God. A hurdle”? When? I would say that if I care for my image in front of you or if I would set an ideal for myself that the moment a question comes to me, I have to give a wonderful, perfect, ideal reply. Then I would say, “I have never heard this question before. This is new, this is a problem, this is a challenge.”

A thing becomes a problem only if you have something at stake, only when you feel that the external input, the external stimulus has the power to take something from you.

Then I would say, “A challenge!” Then I would say, “I can be reduced. The fellow has asked me a question. The question can rob me off my reputation. What would the students say if I am not able to answer the question? I could not answer such a simple question.” Now it is a challenge. Is it not?

Similarly, any external situation is a challenge only if you have that vulnerability within that this situation can reduce you or can take something away from you, hurt you, or harm you. If you have that internal sureness that, “Come what may, I cannot be reduced,” then there is hardly anything that is a challenge. Things just happen.

We are talking here. Or are we fighting? Would you say that my replies are a challenge to you? Would I say that your questions are a problem to me? They are not, right? But had we been here as adversaries, as enemies, then your questions would have been a challenge.

A father is playing a match of badminton with his son. The father is serving; the shuttle cock goes to the son. The son returns the shuttle cock, and he does not return it properly. The father guides him. The son hits the shuttle cock a little hard the next time, it goes out of the court. The son rushes to pick the shuttle cock, he does not allow the father to pick it. Are these two adversaries here? Are they challenging each other? It is a game. They are playing. They are participating.

But if it is a tournament, the world championships, and Lin Dan is serving to Kashyap, then every single shot is a challenge, because something is at stake. Something can be taken away. There is prize money, there is reputation, there is ranking, there is money that can be made from advertisements. There is that internal pride at stake, there is career at stake.

Be very sure of yourself. Nothing is a challenge then. Things appear scary only when you say, “This ‘thing’ can take away something from me.” I am not saying that the thing cannot take anything from you. I am saying that whatever that ‘thing’ can take away from you, would just be another ‘thing’.

Whatever the external can take away from you, would just be external.

So it is not very important. You can live without it. In fact, you will live better without it, because carrying all the external, you only build up a lot of load on the mind. Let all the external be taken away. It is alright. It is no problem. In fact you will discover your strength after all your crutches and props have been taken away. Isn’t that good?

One unnecessarily believes himself to be a handicap, and a challenge, or a problem comes in the form a thief and the thief takes away your crutches. And you suddenly discover that you can walk, not just walk, that you can even run. Isn’t that good?

Let the external be taken away. And I am promising you that you will find yourself more powerful, than you imagine yourself to be.

Let somebody take away all your covers, and veils, and clothing. Unveiled you are, very beautiful. In your nakedness, there is nothing to be hidden. You are wonderful. So do not cry that the challenge came, I was robbed-off my great clothing. Let the clothing go away. You do not need to hide behind it.

When you feel afraid, when you feel that some great threat is looming large, just ask yourself, “What is there to lose? What can be taken away?”  Say, “Alright, take it away! I will still be okay.”

Have that faith in your Heart that you will be okay, that you will be taken care of even when everything has been taken away from you.


~Excerpts from a Samvaad session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: A situation is a challenge only when you feel something about you is at stake

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4 comments

  1. Dear Prashant,I had a chance to meet you and work with you few years back. I was inspired by you at that point of time and even today also.your answer lighted my path which was lost thank you so much. Manju khilery

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