The 16-year-old Manpreet had begun to miss her P.D. sessions suddenly. She had started off very well and I was very happy about the progress. Then came this hiccup… she stopped coming without informing me… When I contacted, she gave me some reasons for her absence and assured me that she wished to continue. But, the next session, she remained absent again… Last night, I sent a message to her: “Manpreet, request you not to drop out. You have been doing well… Please attend at 8 tomorrow morning. G.nt.”
Manpreet replied instantly: “Yes sir. Thanks for your concern. I will surely attend tomorrow morning.”
When I ushered Manpreet on stage, this morning, I asked her to speak on the topic: ‘Why I did not attend P.D. classes for more than a week’.
None of the reasons Manpreet gave us this morning, I was ready to accept. From my experience of nearly three decades, I knew that those who made a clear commitment and stuck to it… yes, they would do it till the end. “It is totally a self-development course… No exams, no marks, no pass or fail… You do it because you think it is important and valuable to you… not because your parents want you to do it… not because your friends are doing it… Till you don’t make it your own decision, it will not have depth and beauty about it. Your self-confidence hinges on it… Make a commitment to yourself and honor it. As simple as that.”
I asked Manpreet to tell us how she felt after my sermon…
“I see the point, sir is trying to make,” Manpreet said, “Excuses don’t help.”
Mr. Patkar, an Air Force pilot, was in the audience with his two teenage daughters. He was impressed about what he had just heard. He told me after the session, that, in Vedas, such a mental conflict is known as the conflict of Sreyas and Preyas… Our mind knows what is important and beneficial for us in the long run… That is ‘Sreyas’. But, in the immediate run, mind craves for something pleasurable and we are pulled towards that… That is ‘Preyas’…. The trick is to move from Preyas to Sreyas… For Manpreet and others, the summer vacation is on… So, like most of their peers do, mind craves to go for instant gratification, by going to bed late… get up late the next day… go with friends wherever and whenever… and, in the process, let the commitments such as P.D. classes fall apart… The same fate for other commitments – Gym, Dance class, Drawing class, Music class etc…
“Choose the Better over the Good and the Best over the Better,” Stephen Covey said. He also said, that to be highly effective in life, we should focus on those things which are important to us but not urgent. He famously called them ‘The Quadrant-2’!
Long before Dr. Stephen R. Covey, the Katha Upanishad from the Vedas had called it – ‘Sreyas’!
Pic.: Khushboo Gulrajani