May 2010

The real men of achievement are the people who have the heroism to fuel more and more enthusiasm in their work when they face more and more difficulties. – Chinmaya

Difficulties, failures and problems etc. in a way are the greatest teachers in life. It is only during difficulties that we stretch ourselves out to the maximum our God-given talents to overcome various challenges. Difficulties strengthen the muscles of will-power, determination and perseverance. Our weaknesses and limitations are exposed only during difficulties and hence they reveal the scope for growth and improvement.

Many times, difficulties force us to turn within and tune in to God, thus helping us realize the fact that He alone is our true friend and the best guide. Difficulties enrich us with the noble values of humility and gratefulness. It also makes us aware of the bitter facts of life, thus urging us to strive for discrimination, dispassion and liberation. Difficulties are indeed the only available bitter pills unavoidable to get rid of the disease of worldliness.

When so many unseen blessings come along with difficulties, it is but natural that the truly wise welcome them with an open heart, knowing well that difficulties come only to stimulate and not to discourage.

In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling put forth the suggestion to build a bridge connecting New York and Long Island. Strong oppositions and criticisms poured from all over, stating how the whole plan was impossible to implement. But John knew in the depth of his heart that it could be done. He could convince only his son, Washington, an upcoming engineer, and both of them started working together to build their dream bridge.

The project started off well, but within a few months, a tragic accident took the life of John. Washington was seriously injured. With a part of his brain fully damaged, he could not walk, talk or even move.

As Roeblings were the only ones who knew how the bridge could be built, sharp criticisms again raised its hood and everyone felt that the project should be scrapped. But Washington still had the burning desire to go ahead. He tried to inspire and pass on the enthusiasm to some of his friends, but all in vain.

As he was lying on his bed, totally exhausted, something in him said not to give up. And very soon an idea struck him. All he could do was move one finger; he decided to make the best use of it. He developed a code of communication with his wife by tapping her arm; his wife would then tell the engineers what to do next! This went on for 13 long years and finally, the bridge was completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances.

Let us not stop trying. The greatest mistake one can make is to be afraid of making one!

Swami Vivekananda says, “Never mind the struggles and the mistakes. Hold on to the ideal a thousand times and if you fail a thousand times, make the attempt once more. Be bold. Be strong. Stand up and fight! Not a step back!!”

Let us remember – the whole ocean is at the back of each wave. So too an Infinite Power is at the back of each and every one. This is the message of the Vedas and the Upanishads.

Once this knowledge is gained, one has then connected to the perennial source of strength, courage and wisdom within, thus transforming oneself from the state of a mere mortal to a real man of achievement.

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Posted in: Chintana

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