Vibha* is preparing for her twelfth-standard Board Exams. She is an extremely intelligent and organized person, and, in general, doesn’t need to be coaxed about her studies. She is very clear about her goal: Chartered Accountancy. She has the right aptitude and the right attitude, both, for achieving her goal. I feel really glad and fulfilled when I teach her for these reasons. Yes, I like those who know where they are heading, and who are self-motivated. They inspire me; and, as a teacher, I get highly motivated to teach them with all my passion… I go the extra-mile to teach such students.
Today, I casually I asked Vibha this: “Vibha, what motivates you to work hard on your own… without being reminded of all the time?”
For a while, Vibha hesitated to answer my question. I thought she had not thought of this as it had been a kind of habit for her to work so… very natural. But then, there was something she wanted to tell which seemed to be the answer to my question. I encouraged her to open up… made her feel free by being non-judgmental about what she felt was her source of motivation.
“My elder brother, sir,” Vibha said.
“That’s great,” I exclaimed. “What is he doing? He must’ve been a very intelligent, organized and self-motivated person, all along? Wasn’t he, Vibha?” I asked.
Vibha’s eyes revealed a hidden sadness. I knew she had something to say. I allowed her to say it.
“Sir, my brother is doing his Engineering. He was, in indeed, a very intelligent and goal-oriented person. My parents were always proud of him,” Vibha told me. She continued, “I wasn’t as intelligent or organized as he was when I was in school. So, there was this constant comparison by my parents with my brother which I detested. I would angrily argue with my parents, and, for some time, it affected my performance, too. But, I adored my brother; hence, I did not allow myself to remain bitter and hurt. But, yes, I did want to prove my parents – and maybe myself – that I too was good.”
“So, this deep need in you to prove your parents – and, importantly yourself – that you are good is motivating you to give your best; isn’t it, Vibha?” I asked. “Your brother is your bench-mark… He is a positive force in your life,” I consoled Vibha.
“That’s true, sir,” said Vibha with her wet eyes, “But, I do not feel good when I think of being compared or criticized by those who love me the most.”
It took only a few moments for Vibha to regain her composure.
“I have a suggestion, Vibha,” I said. “Now that you are almost an adult… and you are conscious of what is happening inside you… I think, you can make a ‘shift’ in your attitude.”
“In what way, sir?” Vibha wanted to know, sincerely.
“Is Chartered Accountancy your chief goal?” I asked her.
“Yes, sir,” Vibha was emphatic.
“You are not ‘forced’ by any one to do that?” I asked.
“No, sir. Never,” was the emphatic reply, again.
“Great,” I exclaimed. “Now, can you really feel inside your heart that your have ‘consciously chosen’ this goal… and you have done it for your absolute fulfillment… for feeling great about your own self?”
“I think, I can… and I think that sounds very good to do,” Vibha agreed.
“Look Vibha,” I continued, “when we set our goals out of our ‘conscious choices’ – and not in order to prove anyone or anything… there is a different power in such choices, a different beauty. Our motivation should come from our own goals which we ‘chose consciously’. That should be the right source.”
Vibha was able to grasp the meaning.
I also wanted to tell Vibha this. “Vibha, if the shift can take place along with a profound sense of gratitude and respect - towards your parents and brother – there will be an even greater beauty… even greater strength.”
In the silence, I knew there was a shift in motion. It was only human to feel, at times, sad, hurt or even angry. Yes, it is only human. Vibha is an intelligent soul… and, she would love her brother and parents even more, now.
What should be the right motivation to love those who I love?
What should be the right reason?
* The name changed