I just happened to read the review of this book while searching for information on books to read. A lot of books are available in the field of personal development and well being. However, what fascinated me about this book “7 Mindsets for Success, Happiness and Fulfillment” was the reference to ancient scriptures on each of the topics. The author quotes a beautiful line about the importance of mindset from one of the scriptures panchadashi; “mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha mokshayoh” ,i.e, Both bondage and liberation depend upon the state of our mind. In this book, the author goes into the details of seven mindsets needed to unlock the pathways to success, happiness and fulfillment.
The author of this book is the world renowned spiritual teacher, Swami Mukundanda. Though he passed out of top institutes in India, he chose the path of spirituality. He has dedicated his life to guiding millions worldwide on the path of happiness and fulfillment. One of my previous blogs on mind management was inspired from his lectures that is available on YouTube. He blends scientific theories and logic with his mastery of Vedic scriptures that makes his teachings unique.
The mindset of positive thinking
kṣhaṇamāyāti pātālaṁ kṣhaṇaṁ yāti nabhasthalamYOG VĀSIṢHṬH
Translation : The mind is so nimble that in a moment it travels down to the nether regions, and in the next moment, it is up in the celestial skies.
The art of joyous living lies not in waiting to reach happiness in the future but in adjusting our attitude to discover it here and now. By developing a positive mindset, we can be happy, irrespective of external factors. Our performance at work does not depend as much on our skillset as it does upon our positive mindset. While the right attitude helps us rise in our professional career, the opposite is also true.
The amalgamation of the body and the mind works miraculously. We become healthy or unwell by the thoughts we harbor. If our emotional state is positive and optimistic, our physical health gets boosted as well and vice versa. In order to avoid negative emotions we need to learn to be thankful to God for the grace of existing material possessions and health.
The mindset of taking responsibility for our emotions
uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayetBhagavad Gita
ātmaiva hyātmano bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ
Translation : Uplift yourself by the power of your mind, and do not degrade yourself, for the controlled mind can be your best friend, while the unbridled mind will be your worst enemy.
The responsibility for our mind lies with us. By honoring it, we ascend the spiritual heights. We created our destiny by performing actions exercising our free will in past births. If God performed action through us, we would not have to bear any karmic reactions for our actions.
However, we possess the free will to change our future with our puruṣhārth or self effort. The ability to exercise our free will for choosing our attitude is the foundation of spiritual growth.
The mindset of inspiration
sa yathakamo bhavati, tat kratur bhavati,Brihadaranyaka upanishad
yat kratur bhavati, tat karma kurute,
yat karma kurute, tat abhisampadyate
Translation : As the desire is, so the will is, as the will is, so is the action. And as is the action, so is the consequence, or the result thereof.
No endeavor is free from difficulties, and the higher the goal, the bigger the obstacles on the way. Inspiration is the propellant that keeps us going in the face of our biggest challenges in life. People get inspired in contrasting ways. For some, the external reward is the fuel while for the others external circumstances are immaterial. Such people possess the ability to tap into an inner source of passion that propels them to excellence, achievement and success.
Everyone has varying levels of inspiration. Here the author advises us to use our intellect to eliminate the lethargy of the mind. Bringing proper knowledge to the intellect like thinking about the importance of the human form that we possess is one of the ways. When we ponder over the value of human life and its transient nature, we will naturally be motivated to do our best. The Sage Narada in the Narad Bhakti Darshan Sutra77 states that “Kshanardhamapi vyartham na neyam” ,i.e, ‘Do not waste even a minute of your human life.’ Use every opportunity for your eternal welfare.
The mindset of purity of intention
nirmala mana jana so mohi pavaRamayan
Translation : The pure at heart are the ones who attain me.
Mere inspiration is not enough, it must also be focused in the right direction ,i.e., ‘the purity of intention’ must exist. Our intention will be considered pure when our definition of success is pure, and we are sincerely striving to achieve it. Success can never satisfy a person if it does not bestow peace of mind. The happiness we are searching for is not on the outside, rather it is within us and is accessed through purity.
As per the Vedic scriptures, the understanding of successful living is to be good, to do good and to feel good. Accordingly success should be measured against the criterion; to become the best we can be, to do the best we can in the works we undertake, to experience happiness and satisfaction in life.
We souls are tiny parts of God, hence we all are little fragments of the ocean of bliss. When we reconnect ourselves with our source, we begin to do our every work for his pleasure and hence experience bliss. Thus, purity of intention is the desire to please God with our every thought, word and deed. The attitude towards work was explained in the Bhagavad Gita as ‘Karmanye vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana‘ ,i.e, do your best and leave the rest to god. This is also what the Karm yog says as well.
The mindset of cultivating knowledge
ajnanamevasya hi mula karanamAdhyatma Ramayan
Translation : The cause of suffering in all human beings is their lack of knowledge.
A small improvement in the way we think or the way we do a particular task can lead to a considerable enhancement in our performance. Information per se will not benefit us. We will benefit from our ability to generate useful knowledge from that information. Those with the mindset of knowledge keep learning at every opportunity and rapidly rise to higher levels of excellence. We need to bear in mind that material knowledge is not the only kind of knowledge that exists. There is also spiritual knowledge which is even more valuable and beneficial for success, happiness and fulfillment in life.
Spiritual science is that body of knowledge which gives us the tools to purify our mind and intellect, and thereby lead a noble and divine life. It teaches us to control our thoughts and make them sublime. We get to learn about ethics and morality without which we humans would fall to the level of animals.
The vedic scriptures are the treasure house of divine knowledge. Their complexity can easily baffle an unguided reader. Hence, the vedas themselves instruct that they be understood under the guidance of a guru. Such a guru should be both theoretically knowledgeable and practically realized. Inquire from such a guru with reverence and render service unto him.
The mindset of discipline
dhyāyato viṣhayān puṁsaḥ saṅgas teṣhūpajāyatebhagavad gita
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate
Translation : While contemplating the objects of the senses, one develops attachment to them. Attachment leads to desire, and from desire arises anger.
We may possess the knowledge of all the libraries of the world in our head, but we will not benefit from it without the virtue of discipline. Discipline empowers us to do the right thing even though it may be difficult. Research has shown that the two qualities having the biggest correlation to accomplishment are ‘intelligence’ and ‘self-control’.
The reality of life is that pleasures which pull us down and degrade the mind are usually readily available, while worthwhile pleasures invariably lie upstream. To reach them requires hard work and earnest effort.
What weight training does to muscles, will power training does to the pre frontal cortex. By repeatedly flexing our will power muscle we develop our self control. In the morning, the brain is well-rested and recharged. Therefore it is the best time to engage in challenging tasks that requires immense control and focus such as meditation. In meditation, we exercise self control to prevent the mind from being lured by distractions. Thus, all three functions of the prefrontal cortex, ‘I want’, ‘I will’ and ‘I won’t’ get a workout.
The mindset of growing in the face of problems
Tough times do not last, but tough people do.Robert h schuller
There are problems in all directions, nobody is exempt from them. In life, you will succeed by anticipating problems before they happen, thereby becoming better prepared for them. Very often, when problems seem to tower before us, we do not realize that it is only a matter of perspective—our mind is making mountains out of molehills. Difficulties and obstacles have a positive side to them. It is in facing them that we grow from within.
Since God is all-powerful, human hardships cannot happen without his will. Whenever he deems it necessary, he creates challenges that force us to exert ourselves emotionally, intellectually and spiritually, so that we may grow. Facing the hardships gracefully allows us to rise above them. We can also be inspired to do the same when people pester us. Advance ahead so much that you leave them behind.
If someone hurts us, it is natural to feel resentment towards that person. When we nurse a grudge, it dirties our mind and poisons the consciousness. The right attitude would be to consider his/her provocations as tests created by God to help me master the virtues of tolerance, forgiveness and patience. When people tell you that you cannot achieve your goals, be deaf to them. If you have a dream in your heart, be positive and optimistic, even if everyone around you is negative and pessimistic.
As per the author, we will need to work on all of the above mindsets simultaneously to achieve success, happiness and fulfilment.
The Law of Infinite Potential
The author concludes the book with an explanation of the ‘law of infinite potential’. According to the Bhagavad Gita, all souls in existence are eternal parts of the Supreme Soul. Hence, we are all divine, like God himself. As tiny parts of God, our potential for growth is also infinite, because our source is infinite in every way. The Law of Infinite Potential also states that each one of us has endless potential for growth. Lack of awareness of this law creates in us the scarcity mentality, which leads us to compete with each other. Hence, the only person we really need to compete with is ourselves. Our topmost priority should be to become the best person we can be and make our journey of life a success.
Further Reading :
Leave a Reply